TMC employee turns hardship into inspiration

Donatian Mahanga TMC 2At the age of 10, Donatian Mahanga became a refugee in the Congo, introduced to the overwhelming challenges of intense poverty, starvation, disease and political strife.

There was a constant shortage of food and medicine. “We buried people every day because of starvation,” he said. Of his 32 aunts, only three survived.

That incredible story of survival fueled a positive mindset and a deep passion to help others.

“People ask me why I am always smiling,” said Mahanga, who works in environmental services at Tucson Medical Center. “It is one of the ways I heal my heart.”

United Way Champions 2017 Donatian MahangaMahanga, who recently served as a champion in TMC’s United Way campaign, also finds healing in giving to others after being affected by more than 20 years of moving between refugee camps in the Congo and Uganda.

War and deprived living conditions claimed six of his 12 siblings. The harrowing experiences were made worse when he was abandoned by his parents at age 13, leaving he and his remaining siblings to fend for food and clothes.

Mahanga was surrounded by a terrible situation that he felt was consuming a generation of young Africans. He wanted to improve living conditions – but not just for him, for his community.

“So many people were suffering at zero. There was no hope at all – I wanted to create a change,” he said. Mahanga took part in organizing a group of young men called COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA). What is COBURWAS? The founders took letters from the names of the countries that refugees traveled from: Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Sudan.

Donatian Mahanga CIYOTA 3Their first step was to raise funds and learn craftsmanship. Mahanga, himself, helped build a school in the refugee camp. “Without education, nothing will do!”

He brought the diverse group of refugees together, and taught himself eight languages in the process. “If you want to help someone, speaking in their language will put them at ease.” He helped many express their grief through performance and song, a method he still uses to engage refugee communities in Tucson.

Mahanga and his friends even reached out to sources in the United States to provide medicine and mosquito nets to treat and stop Malaria, which claims so many lives in the refugee area.

CIYOTA also advocated for women’s rights and encouraged young women to obtain an education, a rare pursuit for women in refugee settlements.

Donatian Mahanga CIYOTA 2After 12 years in operation, CIYOTA has grown into an international, volunteer-based non-profit, that is now organized in the U.S.

Mahanga is glad to see the school he built become a large and prosperous education center. “My number one goal is always to help people,” he said.

In August of 2016, Mahanga came to America with his wife and five children. A temporary staffing agency helped him get a job with TMC and his position soon became permanent.

“TMC is the right place for me –the workers treat each other and the patients with such compassion,” Mahanga explained. “They really show humanity – always working to help others.”

A friend from Uganda reached out to Mahanga to say good bye because he could not afford a life-saving surgery. He was touched when his coworkers raised the needed funds.

TMC monument signHe has already begun helping others, donating his time to help other refugees find work and acclimate to life in the United States. “Change is a part of life, but everyone should feel proud of who they are.”

“Donatian’s love for humanity is visible from the moment you meet him,” said Beth Dorsey, the director of food, nutrition and environmental services at TMC. “His compassion for others truly shows in all he does at TMC and for the community.”

Mahanga is proud to work at TMC and proud of the difference he’s making in the community. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, ages 2 through 10. “The secret to happiness is being content with what you have.”

 

 

TMC ranks high among the best-value hospitals in the country

Seals_CombinedFor the second year in a row, Tucson Medical Center has ranked as one of the best 100 hospitals in the nation from Cleverley + Associates, an organization that specializes in core financial strength services for the hospital industry.  The firm has developed a tool for objective assessment.

The rankings are based on a Community Value Index (CVI) score.  The CVI is the first and most comprehensive analysis of its kind about the value a hospital provides to their community.  By ranking within the top twenty percent, TMC the only hospital in Tucson designated as a Community Value Five Star facility.  A subset of this group is the Community Value 100, which contains the highest scoring facilities in the country.  TMC was the only hospital in Arizona to receive this ‘top 100’ designation.

The accomplishment shows that TMC is operating efficiently, charging responsibility, and providing high quality services while reinvesting to continue great care in our community.

Milestone: Monday’s ‘Meet Me at Maynards’ will be MMM #200

Meet Me at Maynards, the weekly free social walk/run in downtown Tucson (with support from TMC!) , will celebrate its 200th consecutive Monday on Feb. 4, 2013. Here’s the full story from the MMM press release:

Meet Me at MaynardsMeet Me at Maynards (MMM) began on April 13, 2009, with a small group of volunteers. The event ‘stuck,’ growing each week and quickly becoming a fixture in downtown Tucson.  After outgrowing the patio space at Maynards Market and Kitchen, 400 to 600 “MMM Athletes” gather across the street at Hotel Congress each Monday (rain, shine and holidays) between 5:15 and 6:00 pm…They walk or run a route designed to show-off Tucson’s downtown and 4th Avenue. The MMM cheer of “GET OUT” expresses the goals to get out and exercise, get out and make friends and get out and support our community.  More than 18 local eateries welcome the participants with MMM discounts and provide gift certificates for the free raffle at the conclusion of each evening. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that downtown Tucson has come alive and vibrant in the past three years, but total attendance of 80,000 at MMM may have something to do with it.

MMM has partnered with six downtown fitness venues, including O2 Modern Fitness, Yoga Oasis and Armory Park Center and the Y, to offer discounted prices for alternative exercise opportunities, such as indoor cycling, yoga, Zumba, Pilates, gym workouts, etc. Classes correspond with the MMM schedule so that people can check in, do their chosen exercise and be back at Hotel Congress for the live band, awards and drawing.

MMM offers incentive prizes to those meeting milestone attendance – eight times earns a free MMM T-shirt, 15 a MMM running cap, 50 a MMM pin and 100 earns a much coveted royal purple Century Shirt. Several athletes and volunteers have attended more than 165 times:

  1. Doug Kluge                 191 visits
  2. Julie Kluge                   186
  3. James Passannanti       182
  4. Denise Leahy               179
  5. Marjorie Becklund       169
  6. Gary Carstensen          169
  7. Roma Krebs                 165

These athletes and volunteers proudly refer to MMM as “family,” creating a feeling of community and a sense of pride where they live and play. Although many may not have known much about downtown before, they now know where to see historic and beautiful sites, and where to park, eat and drink and be entertained. One example of their sense of pride is Trash Night on the third Monday of each month. Since its inception three years ago, at the suggestion of MMM Athlete Julie Kluge, more than 850 bags of unsightly trash have been collected. In fact, a frequent refrain is there is no longer enough trash to fill their bags

MMM is sponsored by:

  • Tucson Electric Power
  • Tucson Medical Center
  • The Running Shop
  • Arizona Daily Star
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
  • Providence Service Corp.
  • Jim Click Automotive
  • BBVA Compass Bank
  • Tucson Orthopaedic Institute

Meet Me at Maynards was developed and is hosted by Meet Me Concepts, owned by Jannie Cox, her husband David Syverson and Randy and Tia Accetta.  Expanding the idea of healthy communities is a goal shared by the founders and volunteers.  Meet Me at Maynards will celebrate its fourth birthday on April 1, Meet Me at La Encantada will celebrate its first birthday on Wednesday, March 6th, and in Boise, Idaho Meet Me Monday is celebrating six months.

GET OUT!   www.meetmeatmaynards.com

 


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