BBwo Soccer Legends
By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
It was a night of entertainment (free drinks, sumptuous Liberian dishes, music and the sharing of gifts), on December 15, when the local chapter of the River Gee Association of Georgia hosted a free pre-Christmas Day event intended to show appreciation to its members and supporters, who braved the year’s torrential rainfalls, humid and frigid temperatures to discuss ways to help their beloved people in Liberia and those in the state of Georgia, at their regular monthly meetings.
The event was a success. It brought the best out of members, who proudly showcased the group’s remarkable tolerance, diversity, and compassion. The event also showcased the association’s incredible social programs and sense of volunterism, like transportating a sick colleague to his or her doctor’s appointment or dialysis treatment, visiting the sick at home, at the hospital, or providing financial assistance to their members in need.
The evening’s event also showcased the group’s unique annual concept of gift-giving to a “secret pal” of one’s choice, which was delivered by the presenter/giver to the beats of music, dance and cheers.
The example shown by this group proves that not all Liberian community leaders are uncaring and corrupt. However, there are some who will outsmart, manipulate, embezzle, divide and conquer, and use their members and organizations as a steppingstone for government jobs in Liberia, as we have seen over the years in the United States, which has stifled growth and diluted interests in the various associations.
The lack of interests in the greater Liberian Community Associations in the United States has led to the proliferation of ethnic, schools, prayer bands, susu groups and other organizations, which strives to fill the void by reaching out to others, far better than the perceived non-caring, corrupt, and politically opportunistic leaders of the state and national organizations whose corrupt and poor management style led to the decline in membership of those organizations.
Aware of the crisis in Liberian organizations nationwide, and not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past that led to the lack of interests and decline in the membership of those organizations, led the hardworking members of the River Gee Chapter of Georgia and their visionary and dynamic outgoing leader, Geebly Cecelia Sungbeh, to be responsive, sensitive, compassionate, transparent and accountable to its members.
However, knowing how far the local chapter of the River Gee County Association of Georgia has come – from few dedicated members years ago to an organization that is fiscally sound and mature today, gives the group bragging rights and the courage to shower a free “thank you” pre-Christmas party for its members and supporters, even in the midst of a global economic downturn that has also affected Liberians in the state of Georgia.
Credit has to be given to the entire leadership team of the association for finding the courage to put together such function; for putting together an association that thrives on tolerance and accountability, and for finding the balance to be compassionate and thoughtful.
When he was publicly acknowledged and given the opportunity to address the crowd, current LAMA President Leo Mulbah, who was visibly impressed by the ‘secret pal’ gift-giving concept shown by the group, first thanked the group for inviting him, and also added that he would attempt to introduce the concept to his local Bong County association. “I am impressed. This is something we could emulate in our Bong County Association,” he said.
For the River Gee County Association of Georgia, it was a coup to successfully host this event. It was also a remarkable leap for an ethnic group (Greebo) that often struggled with name recognition; especially when members have to constantly and patiently explain to Liberians the genesis of their county, and Liberians in response naively exclaiming “River who?” since most Liberians are unaware or were not in Liberia during the Taylor administration when River Gee, once a part of lower Grand Gedeh County gained county status in 2000.
With over a decade of county status, River Gee County is the tenth largest county in size, and the third least most populous county in Liberia, at 67,318, according to the 2008 National Population and Census figures.
With its size and budding manpower and influence, the people of River Gee are capable of contributing in a positive way to nation building, and can also be a formidable player in local and national politics in Liberia.
For that to happen, the people of River Gee County, who are legitimate Liberian citizens must be embraced enthusiastically, taken seriously as legitimate members of the Liberian society, and not seen as aliens from some planet who invaded the Liberian nation when the people of that country fell asleep.