Our Spiritual Director at the hospital, Pastor Hassane Dan Karami, recently resigned from CURE in order to join Samaritan’s Purse in their effort to rebuild the destroyed churches of Niger. In January 2015, a wave of violence across Niger saw many churches and other Christian properties destroyed. It was a traumatic and trying time for the whole Christian community in Niger, and since that time it was clear that Hassane had a burden for the reconstruction of the Nigerien Church, both physically and spiritually. So while we are sad to see him go, we are aware of the importance of the work he is going to do. Plus, we know he is not going far and will remain a part of the CURE family.
Since Hassane has been the Spiritual Director at our hospital since it opened, and has provided such crucial leadership and stability for the hospital over the past 5 years, we wanted to have a small ceremony for him and his family, in order to say goodbye and to say thank you. A number of people were able to share about Hassane, and it was great to be able to honor him and his work. Since I worked so closely together with Hassane, I was able to speak as well, and here is a bit of what I shared:
“Pastor Hassane has been a pillar here at the CURE hospital in Niger from the beginning. He has served faithfully as both the Spiritual Director, but also as one of the key leaders of the hospital, and he has fulfilled both roles with humility, dignity and grace. Almost all of you here call Hassane “Papa,” out of respect, but in many ways, he really has been like a father to everyone here, and we have all learned from him and benefited from his wisdom.
Personally, I had the privilege to work very closely with Hassane, and to see with my own eyes the love he has for everyone and the goodness of his heart. I have witnessed his love of our patients, their parents, and of our personnel, and seen him demonstrate this love over and over again, either through providing prayer, counseling, advice, or just friendly conversation. I have also seen him give of himself in every way. Hassane is the kind of person that does not hesitate to help someone in need, and everyone here knows that. Many, many times I saw him give to people who are in need, to patients, to staff members and even to people outside the hospital and in the community. In fact, it is thanks to Hassane that we set up the Solidarity Fund.
We use the Solidarity Fund to help people who have real needs in our community. Sometimes it is a patient or the parents of a patient. Sometimes it is a staff member. Sometimes it is a total stranger who shows up at the hospital and has nowhere else to turn. At CURE we try to help as many people as we can through life-changing surgery, but unfortunately, there are people who have real needs that are outside the scope of what the hospital is able to do. It could be helping someone with some money to enroll their children in school, or helping someone rebuild their roof after it collapsed.
I say it is thanks to Hassane that we set up the Solidarity Fund, because when I first arrived here, I began to notice that all these people kept coming to Hassane, and he would give them his own money out of his pocket. He never spoke about it to anyone else, but I was with him in his office, and I saw how many people he was helping. Finally, I told him, “You shouldn’t have to help all of these people on your own.” So we thought about it, and finally we decided on starting a Solidarity Fund, that all of our employees could contribute to, which would be used to help people in exceptional circumstances. Over the years, this Solidarity Fund has helped a lot of people, and it started with Hassane’s generosity.
For me, this is just one example of who Hassane is, and it really shows his heart for others. Before I finish, I would like to read from the Bible, in the Book of Proverbs (since Hassane loves proverbs, especially Hausa proverbs). Proverbs 11:25 – “The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.” I love this image, and I think it is very fitting for Hassane. He is someone who “waters” others, and I am sure that almost everyone here today has been “watered” by Hassane and his generosity. He has spent 5 years watering this hospital faithfully, through service, through prayer and through leadership, in a very dry and thirsty land. We have already seen the fruit of his work, and I know we will continue to reap the harvest for years to come.
I want to officially thank Hassane for his work here at CURE, and for all the people he has blessed.”
Here are some pictures from the ceremony. Photo credit to Fanny Franceschi.