Ibrahim Sabbagh is affectionately called ‘Bibo’ by those who know him. To know Bibo, is to love him. Bibo is ISHI’s treasurer, co-founder of ISHI Canada and logistics extraordinaire. He lives in Montreal, Canada with his family and has devoted himself to helping ISHI carry on its mission since 2009.
Through his academic and professional background, Bibo is well versed in accounting and finance. He speaks four languages, Arabic, French, English and Spanish. Bibo worked tirelessly to move ISHI into a recognized non-profit NGO and currently manages all of ISHI’s finances. When he isn’t focused on managing those important aspects of ISHI, he organizes the logistics for all the missions from his home in Montreal.
When Bibo handles the logistics for a mission, volunteers can rest easy knowing he has handled every aspect including travel itinerary, lodging, food, and cultural activities. What some may not know are all the thoughtful things that Bibo does behind the scenes for volunteers. Call it paternal instinct or just being extraordinarily thoughtful, Bibo always goes out of his way on every mission to ensure every volunteer is content. He has a subtle, benevolent way of taking care of all the volunteer needs. He has been known to stay up into the middle of the night just to make sure volunteers arrived safely back to the hotel after an evening out. In Peru, a volunteer recalled how Bibo found a bakery that sold her favorite cookies and surprised her with them after a long mission day. His mission days are longer than most of the volunteers to make sure each day runs as planned. He not only handles logistics for the volunteers, but also works closely with local liaisons to ensure the team has the necessary local supplies to run a safe mission. Simply put, without Bibo, ISHI wouldn’t be as successful of an organization as it is today. To date, Bibo has been on five missions with ISHI; Sierra Leone two times and Peru three times. Fellow volunteers see Bibo as someone who is loyal, selfless, funny, kind and patient. He always puts others before himself while on a mission.
“I have supported a number of missions from visiting surgical teams in Peru. Something volunteers often do not realize is how much work the team logistics person puts in, and also how important that role is. Whilst there will be several surgeons and other professions, there is normally only one person taking responsibility for pretty much everything beyond the surgeries. It has been a real pleasure to work with and get to know Bibo, who works so hard for ISHI and its volunteers. His work begins months before the mission starts and does not end until the last volunteer is home. Fundraising, travel plans, daily transport, hotel liaison, scouting out restaurants, and physically providing lunches for teams, are just some of what he does. He is deeply committed to ISHI, and takes time away from his wife and young children, all to try and ensure that people with very limited resources can receive the surgeries they need.”- Kevin Hurley, Trujillo, Peru Liaison
“Bibo…the cool, calm and collected one amongst all the chaos of what it takes to have a successful mission. Having someone that a whole team can rely on in an unfamiliar country and setting is extremely valuable and the team is forever grateful to Bibo.” - Bruno Beja-Umukoro, CRNA
“Bibo is the ‘everything man’…water, money, food and serving as a bodyguard multiple times. He was an integral part of our team and we all appreciated him tremendously.” - Dr. Melinda Ball, Anesthesiologist
“Bibo is life!” - Beka Bosire- RN
“Bibo needed to change some money, get supplies for ISHI, and cloth to have pants made for his daughter. I also wanted to buy some local cloth for my bead project. We walked through the dark traditional market checking every stall before he found the perfect material for his young daughter. After buying some snacks for the volunteers, we were approached by a large man who flashed an immigration officer card. He asked for our papers and made us follow him to the immigration office. I was scared and angry, but Bibo never lost his cool. He calmly explained who we were and that all our passports were at Mr. Conteh's guesthouse. He just smiled and let the officer do most of the talking. We left with the main man's phone number so Mr. Conteh could speak to him. Bibo seemed unfazed and amused by the whole situation. As we walked home he handed out granola bars to the passing children. Bibo is organized, calm, in control at all times, generous and kind. Without him the mission would not have run as smoothly.”- Debbie Livingston- Logistics