The Healing Faiths

The journey

Fiorenzo is a friar and a surgeon. He has been living in Africa for forty years, more precisely in Tanguieta, in the northern savanna of Benin. Here he founded and now manages the Saint Jean de Dieu Hospital, which has become a point of reference for the local population, poor and left to its own devices. Patients arrive at Tanguieta Hospital from all over Benin and bordering countries: Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger and Nigeria. Many of them have to face long and tiring journeys to come here and be treated by father Fiorenzo.
The caliph of Kiota, Niger, the spiritual guide of the Tijaniyya Muslim congregation, started almost thirty years ago to send “his” sick patients to the Christian friar, giving each of them a letter of recommendation with a personal prayer. Since then thousands of patients have travelled the almost seven hundred kilometers separating Kiota from Tanguieta. Fiorenzo and the caliph never met but had a thorough epistular relationship and held each other in high esteem and respect.
After the caliph died, his son continued his legacy and friendship by letter. It is him today, the Cheikh Moussa Aboubakar Hassoumi Kiota, who, like his father, continues to send his patients to father Fiorenzo so they can be treated. This is an uplifting example of how different creeds can unite rather than divide, as well as a lesson of cooperation against any form of fanaticism and intolerance.