Madam Neyor L. Karmue, 61, still recalls July 28, 1990 at the age of 31, when she was taken to the killing field in Duport Road, Paynesville, to be slaughtered by rebels. After being turned over to a girl of her daughter’s age group, she prayed and promised her God saying: “God, if you save me to live, I will take care of children whose parents have died, and those fighting like this child.”
While at gunpoint to be shot dead, her little daughter among five children ran to her when the female child soldier was about to shoot, and the soldier, seeing her peers, laid down the weapon without executing the order. In the process, argument broke out among the commanders, bringing delay in the execution of the order, and Madame Karmue and children departed to Gbarnga and subsequently to the Ivory Coast where they stayed and eventually traveled to the United States.
She and her husband, Fungbeh D. Karmue, could not wait to fulfill the vow by returning to home to bring destitute children together in the Fugbeh Village in Garmue, Pantaa, District, Bong County. She has brought to her care-giving home over 40 children, most of them girls whose parents are no more, and she is sponsoring them in school and providing their basic needs at the Christ’s Children Home Care. One of them, 18 years old Myra L. Wamah, has received a scholarship to attend the Mulenberg College in Pennsylvania, the United States.
Myra, a daughter of a widow, was taken to the Fugbeh Village at age five. Now at 18, she is a student of the Adventist University after receiving her secondary education at the St. Martin’s Catholic School in Gbarnga under the sponsorship of the Karmue family. She is so far the most fortunate among five siblings without a father but poor mother.
Madame Karmue sees this opportunity for Myra and the tremendous progress in raising less fortunate children in the interior part of the country as “fulfilment” of the vow she made on the day she was at the point of death.
If you make a vow to God and don’t fulfill it, there is a consequence that comes with it. My husband and I thought to fulfill this vow, and this is why we left the US to return and fulfill, and I am just happy that Myra, who I got from her mum at the age of five, can have this opportunity. There are more to come for the rest of the children I have here,” she said.
Mr. Fungbeh Karmue also said though he is sad that one of his beloved daughters will be going away; he is glad and grateful for her because she will return with solid education to contribute to nation-building.
The couple in separate but concurring views said that they had no reason returning to Liberia, but their stay away could not help because the humanitarian approach they have taken today is giving hope to several destitute children brought from Bong, Nimba and other parts of Liberia.
Myra, hearing the announcement through Zoom communication on December 15 after waiting for more than two years from the time she applied for the Support Her Education Changes a Nation (SHECAN) Scholarship, burst in tears and fought to control her emotions in communicating with the overseas board offering her the learning opportunity as she became overwhelmed with joy.
She is expected to start school in the United States next August to study Biology. “I am very happy to hear this. Even though it does not surprise me too much because I knew one day they would get to me, I am one person among five children without a father to have this opportunity, and so I am thrilled that I can have it with the help of Save More Kids,” said Myra.
With the help of philanthropists including Kenneth Riley of the International LongShoreMen’s Association (ILA) of Charleston, South Carolina, the Karmues have established a mission and rebuilding an Agriculture College, mineral water and rice processing facilities, as well as a clinic to enhance the missionary work they have undertaken in Garmue. Under Save More Kids, the family has cultivated a large rice field from which they harvest rice every three months.
ILA President Riley during a visit to Garmue on December 15, 2020 distributed iPads and smartphones among the children with school materials and clothes.
The CEO of Save More Kids, Quanuquanei Karmue, said, “I’m thrilled by the opportunity offered to one of our sisters. She applied for this scholarship three years ago, and we are doing all this with the help of philanthropists like Mr. Riley and those who came with him to bring these children up. We pay not less than US$400 for those attending St. Martin in Gbarnga.”
Progress in the education of the kids continues to reflect. At an organized program on December 15 in the Fugbeh Village in Garmue where children received gifts and were fed, five of them were presented as prospective graduates of the St. Martin’s Catholic School this year. They include Joe P. Mulbah, Jr., Blessing Kollie, Robert M. Gwateh, Peter Y. Sammie, and Isaac R. Paye.
Dr. Lisa Thompson, the head of the US delegation leading Kenneth Riley and Mark Bass on the visit to Liberia, expressed her excitement over the humanitarian program carried out by the Karmue family and urged the elders who attended the brief program held in their honor to prioritize the development of children’s mind because they are the future of the country. She and the rest of the team toured the facilities erected for the program and expressed appreciation to Mrs. Karmue for how far she has taken the destitute children to a height of recognition and usefulness.