Like most of her siblings born in Bolahun, Lofa County to a polygamous father, Chief Cutbert P. Sele, in the home of over 12 wives, the circumstances of Elizabeth’s birth were obviously very difficult. This was especially so given the fact that her mother, Madam Jenneh Jarso Karma, was not the head wife.
As is customary, the head wife was instrumental in bringing Jenneh in as a younger wife to Chief Sele. But, Jenneh, being a younger woman, was soon considered a threat to Sele’s head wife. For the sake of peace, therefore, Jenneh left the home, leaving her young child, Liz, behind.
Things got more difficult for her, for in the absence of her dear mother, little Liz had to serve the head wife and all the other wives.
But once she got baptized in the Saint Augustine Episcopal Church on the Episcopal Mission in Bolahun, Liz took very seriously her faith in Almighty God and her education, which began there.
Following her completion of the Bolahun Mission High School, she entered the Mission’s partner institution, Cuttington University, where she earned the BSc degree in Nursing. She later matriculated to the College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, where she obtained the Master’s degree in Nursing Service Administration.
Upon her return home, Elizabeth worked as a classroom and clinical instructor at the Curren Lutheran Hospital and School of Nursing and Midwifery and later Director of Nursing Service in Zorzor, Lofa County. Liz returned to her alma mater, Cuttington, where she served as Lecturer, Clinical Supervisor and later Dean of the Department of Nursing.
After six years in that position, she was appointed Program Manager and later Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), where she served for 10 years. She later became Community Development Specialist with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and with the program for the Reconstruction of Rural Housing in Liberia.
Elizabeth Sele Mulbah is the first Liberian to be inducted into the Gamma Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing at the College of Nursing, University of Iowa, USA.
A noted public speaker, she has many unpublished speeches and a draft Autobiography titled, Blessed Tears that tells the story of her life and the rich experiences she has had, her contributions to nursing, church and state.
Her speaking engagements and training in community services have taken her to the United States of America to the Carter Center in Atlanta, International Peace Academy in Washington, the Institute of Peace in New York, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Mali in Africa, and in Europe.
She has been honored by Cuttington University (President’s Award for her contribution to the college), her church, community and the National Nurses Association.
In her autobiography, Elizabeth Mamai Korpo Sele Mulbah describes her journey “from nowhere as a struggling child with eleven stepmothers” to the eminent woman she has become, known nationally and internationally. This, she insists, has been made possible through nothing but “the grace of God.”
Elizabeth says she is inspired by her relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ and her desire to honor Him in what she does. What she hates is exploitation of any kind. “We should strive for a win-win situation in all relationships and at all times everywhere,” she says.
It is, therefore, not surprising that as she turns 70 today, May 11—a milestone which she describes as “undeserving, but achieved totally through the mercy and grace of God,” Mrs. Mulbah will start her day, en route to work, with a Communion service at St. Stephen Episcopal Church, 10th Street, Sinkor, at 8 a.m.
A Thanksgiving service will take place on Sunday, May 14 at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Paynesville, starting at 10 a.m.
On Monday, May 15, there will be cook-outs at the Elizabeth Sele Mulbah Institute in Duazon, Margibi County, and at the New Destiny Christian High School of the Karpilees on the ELWA Road, Paynesville.
The thanksgiving, she says, is in honor of “All my ‘kids’” especially those whose natal day and wedding anniversaries fall on May 11.