Feature Article:

The Appealing “Gbekugbeh” Dance at the Bassa Community Food Distribution
The Appealing “Gbekugbeh” Dance at the Bassa Community Food Distribution
Photo Credit: ITSSD

The Second Test Run of the COVID-19 Household Food Support Program (COHFSP) to vulnerable Liberians took place on Saturday, June 13, 2020 in the Bassa Community in Central Monrovia. The community is also located in District 8, Montserrado County.


The Second Test Run of the Stimulus Package to vulnerable citizens and communities that are most food insecure is part of the Liberian Government’s efforts to carter for its people in the wake of the Corona virus Pandemic.


The food distribution aspect of the Stimulus Package, targeting about 2.5 million people across the country is contracted to the  World Food Program, while the National Steering Committee, constituted by President George Manneh Weah, is spearheaded by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, and comprises a number of individuals/organizations from diverse backgrounds.



                                       Why the article:


The essence of this feature article   is to capture or highlight how an elderly woman from the Bassa Community appreciated the Liberian Government, particularly President George Weah “for keeping his promise to supply food rations to vulnerable populations across the country.


The elderly woman, Sundayway Tarr, popularly   referred to as American Tee-girl, could no longer withhold her feelings of joy, astonishment and appreciation to the Almighty God, when she took to the floor to dance upon being served.


She told several journalists who quickly surrounded her to find out what might have led to such an appealing and perhaps unrehearsed dance, the elderly Bassa Community resident, said she heard from some people that Government’s pronouncement to distribute food to the Country’s vulnerable populations was a “419.”


“Thank God for our son Gbekugbeh, reference to President Weah.  ” Gbekugbeh  say he was going to give us food to eat and today he  bring the food for us, I thank God I am  happy and I “na”  even know what to say.”


Holding a  gallon of Argo oil received during the food distribution at the  Bassa Community Palava Hut, Sundayway Tarr, danced uncontrollably  while repeatedly saying “ I thank God, thank you my son Gbekugbeh, Gbekugbeh, Gbekugbeh,” as  her comments of adoration and dance  drew the attention of the media, other food recipients and members of the National Steering Committee.


As a member of the National Steering Committee on the COVID-19 Household Food Support Program’s Sub-committee on Communication, I decided to write this article not for any personal reasons, neither gains, but to simply encourage   us to learn to appreciate.


Our history shows that some people do not appreciate others in society. Perhaps there are some of us who believe that appreciation is only necessary when we receive from others in huge quantities/volumes or amounts.




Deducing from how the elderly woman danced and praised God for President Weah for the food distribution, I want to believe that she was not really concerned about the quantity of the items received, but the fact that a promise had been fulfilled, especially.


I recall on Saturday, May 23, 2020, during the First Test Run of the Stimulus Package Food Distribution at several orphanages and welfare homes in Montserrado and Margibi Counties, similar appreciation was expressed by other recipients, especially Beyan Kota of the Christian Association of the Blind.


“This is not about the quantity, but the idea that our President has shown some concern for us during these difficult times when Liberia is fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Said Mr. Beyan, as he formally took delivery of his institution’s supply.


                         My experience about being appreciative:


Let me share this story before I conclude my opinion, when   the Management of LBS/ELBC assigned me to the Executive Mansion in 2011 as its Correspondent, I was less than a year on the assignment when  Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, then Liberian President recognized me as a diligent, humble and respectful person.   Madam Sirleaf had instructed the Press Secretary at the time to forward the list of journalists who were covering the Presidency.  On this particular day, the number of journalists listed on the paper was more than the number she used to see during programs at her Office. The meeting I am talking about was held in the middle of 2011.


Inferring from Madam Sirleaf’s facial expression, I want to believe that she knew    the list was longer than those who always covered programs at Presidency prior to the meeting with her.


I don’t know whether it was a coincidence that my little brother, Winston W. Parley of the New Dawn Newspaper and I were the second to the last and the last, respectively to be introduced.


The moment the Press Secretary called my name, he did not even conclude, when then President Sirleaf  came in to say: “ Yes, I know Mr. Parley, since he was assigned here,  he’s very respectful, hardworking and humble, rain or shine he is always here to cover my Office and I want to appreciate him for that.”


 Let me set the records straight, by saying I am not claiming to say I was the only one who did all the good job on the assignment, but I felt extremely inspired or honored, that within less than a year, and by the President’s own evaluation or professional judgment I could fit within such a positive description, when in fact others had covered the Executive Mansion for, like over three- four to five years before my assignment.


Now, there were colleagues who said the recognition was not worthy since Madam Sirleaf did not give me anything like money, job, car or scholarship.


But to me, I was not actually  concerned about all the things  my  professional colleagues were saying, but I appreciated the recognition, the fact that I had not made a year on the assignment when  the President’s radar  captured me in such a constructive way. Let me also say that the recognition   made me to work the extra mile in terms of my performance because I did not want to bring the “white chicken” scenario into play. God be praised that my name was gradually becoming a household one within the corridors of the Presidency until my dramatic withdrawal from the assignment in 2013, when my colleague who and I came from ELBC/LBS had been on the assignment for over five years.


Two years after my recognition by Madam Sirleaf, I was included on her trip to the Netherlands and to also cover the final Meeting of Eminent Persons (The High Level Panel on Post 2015) in the Southern Asian Nation of Indonesia in March 2013.


Fellow compatriots, even in Biblical history, our Creator teaches us to appreciate the little He gives to us and by that sense of positive reception God is inspired to do more or bigger things for us. I therefore wish to admonish all of us to learn how to appreciate because as we appreciate others, society   exerts more pressure on them, from a positive perspective to do more for us.


A hint to the wise is quite sufficient!


The author is a member of the National Steering Committee’s Sub-committee on Communication on the COVID-19 Food Support Program.


He’s reachable through: jacobtheancestor@yahoo.com/0777604576/0886560455