By Samuel G.Dweh/freelance (0886618906, 0776583266, [email protected])
They hurried in their wheelchairs, on crutches, with their ‘walking aids’ (Canes) toward the venue where a consignment of ‘quick hunger-driving food items’ would be served. Some of those with visual impairment, who did not have canes, found their way using their hands (groping) and ears (for sound of music at the venue). Their movement is on announcement by a member of a visiting team representing a Jewish organization.
Outside the venue, two other members of the team were offloading the ‘gifts’ from a grey Nissan. The presents were three bags of rice (one 50 kilograms and two of the 25 kilograms); two 5-liter containers of vegetable oil; two packs of shrimp-flavored, cooking cubes; four sacs of cooking salt; and six sets of 30-per sac mineral water.
Here was the compound of the Group of 77 (G-77), an organization of Liberian disabled persons, located on Newport Street, Monrovia, Liberia. The date was July 20, 2019. G-77 is on the Government of Liberia support line and is directly under the Office the Vice President of Liberia.
The donations program started with an Opening Prayer by Ms. Weedor N’borleh, physically challenged (wheelchair-mobile)
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Jeremiah Cooper, Regional Coordinator of G-77, representing the Executive Director, Madam Wayfay F. Ciapha, who was absent, said to the guests: “Our doors will always be open for your next visit.”
“We are members of Good Deeds Day, a humanitarian organization founded by an Israelite female politician, businesswoman and philanthropist named Sheri Harrison,” Mr. Gaious Ben, leader of the team, said to the hosts totaling 25. “We are named Goods Deeds because we were founded to do good.”
The team leader mentioned education, health/sanitation and agriculture as some of the sectors under Good Deeds Day’s voluntary service reward.
“Our core function is rewarding citizens for contributing to the development of their country through their voluntary services in their respective communities,” Mr. Ben added.
The team, which represented Liberia’s branch of Good Deeds Day, first thought about giving cooked food for the G-77 family.
“But we changed our mind to giving these uncooked food because after we thought the food cooked by us would taste bitter to some of you or would cause Dysentery,” Mr. Ben told the hosts.
Mr. Ben said the team had earlier thought about taking the food to another set of Liberia’s needy people living in the Township of West Point, one of the poorest communities in the heart of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
“But we felt, later, that people living here are more vulnerable than the needy people of West Point,” said Mr. Christopher Cooper, Coordinator/Head of Logistics of Liberia’s branch of Goods Deeds Day.
Good Deeds Day’s Humanitarian Ambassador, Ms. Janet Bull, CEO of JBull Modelling Agency, was part of the team. She was accompanied by two young ‘beauty queens—Princess Strother, 24, candidate of the Queen of Beauty of Africa International to be held in Calabar, Nigeria; and Aminata Kpehe Massalay, Miss University Africa-Liberia. Ms. Strother is working voluntarily for Good Deeds Day.
During the remarks segment, some of the G-77 members made appeals and gave suggestions on the donations to prevent problems associated with presents from other humanitarian organizations in the past.
Mr. Jeremiah Cooper appealed for walking aids from the visitors.
“Our guests should disclose the total number of gifts here, for the knowledge of the authority of this institution,” said Mr. Morris Wheagba, wheelchair-mobile Ware House Coordinator of G-77.
Ms. God’s Power Benson, (wheelchair-mobile) advised: “Since the Old ma (Vice President Jewel-Howard Taylor) doesn’t have knowledge on these gifts, I suggest we show them to her, before sharing them.”
The food gifts from the Jewish humanitarian organization arrived at an economically crucial time for the ordinary members of the Group of 77. All of them depend solely on the national government, or the Vice President’s Office, for daily feeding, which is given once each Month.
“The G-77 authority gives each of us, ordinary members, half bag of rice (25 kilograms), only, each month, but we haven’t received our July ration yet. We have to go on the street to beg for money for soup to eat with the rice” Ms. God’s Power Benson said at Good Deeds Day’s visit.
Ms. Benson’s comments indicates financial constraints at G-77 as money, which was reflected in the ‘leaking roof’ of the little office of the institution’s Regional Coordinator, Jeremiah Cooper, in the compound, on the day Good Deeds Day visited. The roof burst at two points and rain water was continuously dropping into a green 20-liter rubber bucket and its cover.
“We are waiting for our budgetary allotment from the 2019/2020 National Budget to fix this roof,” Mr. Cooper (crutches-mobile) responded.
The major problem confronting ordinary members of G-77, with more than hundred registered membership, is lodging. For now, only twelve residential rooms are the entity’s building for live-in (for married couple and at least two children) and educational section (1st Grade-7th Grade) for registered members’ children. The rest of the members are outside—living in makeshift structures, about two hundred meters from G-77 Headquarters, along the Atlantic Ocean, or spend the night along street corners.
Good Deeds Day was founded in 2007 and is now present in 100 countries. It has a membership of three millions persons, up from 7,000 volunteers who started the organization, the organization’s CEO, Kaynan Rabino, revealed to journalists on his first official visit to Liberia on February 15, 2019.