Tuesday 19th September 2017,

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Liberians remain hopeful, despite devastating news of Ebola

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Crystal, Minn.,11/30/14, – Few months ago, it never occurred to West Africans and the rest of the world, that there would be a moment of ease anytime soon, where residents in Monrovia would be able to assemble in large numbers without fear of entrapping Ebola from people they interacted with.

The news was devastating, the casualty rate was alarming, and the fear was growing by the day, but Ebola-warily Liberians remained faithful. They congregated in religious centers, took part in awareness campaigns, and even sought the intervention of the Lord at quarantine centers for His mercy upon a country that was being swallowed by this killer virus.

As for some whom others considered unfaithful, they had no hope of fighting back Ebola, but to slowly give in, and allow the virus takes it course, but the timely intervention of Western countries, and humanitarian organizations such as the Federation of Liberian Mandingo Associations in the USA, was like a God sent angel.

FELMAUSA, a non-governmental organization comprising of ethnic Mandingoes based in the United States, entrusted a sister organization, the Mandingo Caucus, to steer its contributions to  the fight against Ebola in Liberia.

Bangalee Trawally - FELMAUSA's Leader

Bangalee Trawally – FELMAUSA’s Leader

The organization’s leader, Bangalee Trawally, sounded an SOS call to members in different chapters of FELMAUSA to raise fund for the federation to assist the people of Liberia.

As if they were waiting for the president’s call, chapters have contributed immensely to this humanitarian gesture, and funds generated have been, and continue to be channelled through the Mandingo Caucus to help feed Ebola victims who were once neglected by the Liberian government.

Few months ago, when Ebola first launched its onslaught on the Liberian capitol, Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in an interview with Katie Couric of Yahoo news blamed the spread of Ebola on Liberians who washed dead bodies because of what she termed “Religious and cultural practices.”

Based on what many considered “Government’s lack of support for its citizens in time of distress,” and the president’s assertion that Ebola spread because Liberians “Washed bodies of dead relatives,” some have said that the intervention of FELMAUSA could not have been more timelier; but to chapters of the single largest Mandingo organization in the world, the fight against Ebola is not over as of yet. 

One chapter of FELMAUSA that holds this view is the Wisconsin Mandingo Association – yesterday, WIMAM donated $8000.00  United States dollars to the federation as its initial contribution to the fight against Ebola in Liberia.

The donation came as a big surprise to many, including advocate Mohamed Sherif of Philadelphia who simply said, “Thanks WIMAM.”

FELMAUSA’s leader, Bangalee Trawally said,“This is commendable indeed when that a chapter within our FELMAUSA federation can take the lead in this remarkable way. Thank you WIMAM, your chapter may be seen relatively small, but your action shows greatness that reflect positive attributes of the Liberian Mandingoes.”

While in that happy mood, President Trawally also announced a donation of $150.00 United States dollars from Chicago, the amount according to the FELMAUSA leader, came from Mr. Mohammed Cobra Konneh, and his wife, Asata Sackor-konneh, as their on-going contribution to “Safe our people in Liberia in the fight against Ebola.  Thank you Mr. Konneh.”

Pres. Trawally in his Thank-you note to WIMAM again sounded a call to various chapters to collaborate with FELMAUSA’s collection team in making good their contributions, as he put it, FELMAUSA’s first shipment of Ebola fighting materials will arrive in Monrovia next week.

FELMAUSA’s main Secretary General, Abubakarseleke Soko Sackor, Jr., through a dispatch on the federation’s Listserv, felmausa@yahoogroups.com , said the $8000.00 donated by WIMAM was deposited at about “8:30 this morning,” he however did not say to which account the deposit was made. It is not also clear if the $150.00 donation from Chicago has been deposited. 

If the $8,150.00 successfully makes it to Monrovia, this will be huge to the welfare of those who need it most. This is not the first time that FELMAUSA has contributed to assisting the needy in Liberia, the organization usually lead a medical mission that has contributed greatly to the health needs of hundreds, if not thousands of Liberians.

The medical mission made the most prominent Mandingo organization a household name in Liberia.  Some non-Mandingoes hold the view that the organization’s free donations to Liberia has a political connotation, but this is yet to be proven.

What remains clear though is, that some of those who have volunteered for FELMAUSA have been able to easily navigate their ways into the Liberian government.

Whether their navigation to government is a benefit to volunteering, that is something that remains the prerogative of those who care, but many members of FELMUASA think that the mission to help the people of Liberia should not be hindered at all.

Lassana Bamba can be reached at 763-477-8604 or at lassanabam5@yahoo.com, he lives with his family in Minnesota.

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