By Samuel G. Dweh
Gone too soon!
Friday, April 28, 2017 will always be indelible in my heart and in my memory for a situation I never wished for.
Jeh Nyan (being your native Wedabo name), the fallen Commissioner of the Township of West Point.
The youngest male commissioner of the ‘Key’ (a characteristic name for West Point) since the creation of the community in the 1960s!
Highly educated product of the Wedabo ethnic group of Grand Kru County! Your educational records—BSc in Economics at the University of Liberia and Master’s Degree (Cum Laude) in Accounting at the University of Liberia (2016-2017)—has nullified some persons’ claim that Wedabo people can’t perform with academic distinction.
And your top posts at EcoBank (Liberia), the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demystified people’s opinion that educated Wedabo people do not go above ‘Office Assistant’ position in organizations established by other people.
Your appointment as the Commissioner of the Township of West Point by President Ellen Sirleaf in 2015 (replacing Madam Miatta Flowers) is a testament that Wedabo people in the ruling party are not restricted to “document dispatching” for the party.
Sampson, I was told death passed through ‘Cold’ (Pneumonia) you contracted in China where you were on a three-month study of the Great Wall of China. Is that true? Is it natural cold or diabolical cold?
I know our community too well on the diabolical cold—the type of chill from one of the witches or wizards that were plenty in our good community—and still are. Why is it that God—the Giver and Respecter of life—spared and showed mercy to these kinds of persons by saving them from hunger, cholera or armed persons’ weapons that sniffed out the lives of thousands during the civil war?
God will tell me or any of your other living friends one day—not in the distant future—what kind of ‘cold’ death crept through to reach you.
My childhood friend Sampson! I imagine our growing up together in the Township of West Point in the late 80s—playing marble or football in the ‘gika’-controlled sand. Our playground was on ‘Battle Field’ (West Point’s only sports pitch then) opposite the Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi School. Or in front of Bible Way Church, which elementary school I graduated from.
During the marble or football contests we sometimes fought—which is common with kids. But, minutes later, we would soon forget the altercation and begin ‘stiming’ or ‘rolling,’ and start defending each other against another person picking a fight with you or me.
My kinsman (Wedabo ethnic group) Sampson! I remember us always speaking our dialect (Wedabo) to each other whenever we met in our office in the West Point Township Hall. Speaking the dialect connected us to our ancestral home (Wedabo Chiefdom)—far away from Monrovia and Montserrado County. Many of your office staff members or your visitors listening to us ‘ringing’ Wedabo would often marvel at our ‘ancestral-home-going’ through the vernacular.
Sampson, couldn’t you overpower death for at least a year so that you and I complete our common project—transformation of minds of West Point’s youth against social vices? What we planned was to turn the young people’s mind from terrifying survival methods (robberies) to honourable methods (using their God-given talents).
This is the project we discussed at the launch of my Liberian educational problems-and-solutions fictional book, titled Grade Sin, in West Point on Saturday, August 6, 2016. The photo I used for this tribute is you making Welcome Remarks at the launch of Grade Sin. The photo is to remind you about your interest in any of my intellectual projects aimed at drawing the attention of outsiders who often proclaim, “Nothing good can come from West Point.”
Sampson, majority of these currently-bad youth used to love you and often expressed their willingness to change. This love was shown in their release to you the mobile phone of the book launch program’s Master of Ceremony (Ms. Ade Kekula) that was snatched on the launching day. You went to their hideout in the community to get the phone.
Sampson, another project you and I talked about is to carry out educational projects in our part of Grand Kru County, which is the most educationally disadvantaged place for the Government of Liberia’s education programs to the entire Grand Kru County. You suggested we should start first with free writing and reading materials to the Wedabo settlement.
But, you’re gone!
Please be with me on my search for your physical replacement for these two projects: West Point’s Attitudinal Change and Wedabo Education Revival.
Sampson, I was told you would be buried on the 13th day of May (Saturday). I will be there to bid you safe journey to the great beyond.
Farewell, my brother. May He who giveth and taketh accept you in His abode.
Sampson, will we meet again?
About the author: Samuel G. Dweh, author (of fiction and non-fiction), is an indigene of ‘educationally backward’ Wedabo ethnic group of Grand Kru County; a product of ‘demonized’ West Point Township in Montserrado County; and a member of Liberia’s two national writers’ groups—Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Liberia Association of Writers (LAW). He can be reached via: +231 886 618 906/ +231 776 583 266 E-mail: [email protected]