By KABS KANU :
The New Jersey Chapter of the Mabohanday organization rocked the Garden State last Saturday with their annual thrilling Fund-raising program and cultural show , which also included prayers for Sierra Leone, inspiring messages calling on Sierra Leoneans to help fight the Ebola scourge back home and a stupendous cultural extravaganza featuring a famous Limba folk dance, spearheaded by the popular Matorma masked devil .
SECRETARY GENERAL ALIMAMY TURAY WELCOMING GUESTS TO THE PROGRAM
The program , which was held at the East Franklin Firehouse on Pine Grove Avenue , Somerset, Franklin Township, was well-organized and the occasion drew a sizable crowd , with members and invitees travelling from various states in the continental USA to attend the dance and cultural show . The cream of New Jersey society also attended the magnificent program on a weekend when New Jersey seethed with many other social events .
GUESTS AND MEMBERS DANCING
The Fund-raising dinner/dance and cultural show provided Sierra Leoneans , worried about the Ebola outbreak back home , a brief moment of exciting respite from their sorrows , when they had to demonstrate too that they are a people not defined by Ebola after all , but a nation with a rich tribal, traditional, cultural and artistic heritage worth celebrating.
REV. DR. FAKONDO ADDRESSING THE OCCASION
The occasion also demonstrated that Sierra Leoneans, as a people, always knew how to get together and enjoy themselves as one family, in spite of the troubles that often seek to undermine the enchanting life many of them grew up to appreciate in the good, old days of their nation’s metamorphosis. It may have been worth the while also convincing themselves that, amidst all the local and international media blitz on the EVD disaster back home, Sierra Leoneans have a beautiful life beside Ebola.
MABOHANDAY CHAIRMAN JOHN SAMBA GIVING HIS ADDRESS
The DJ for the program was Mr. William Koroma , who kept guests busy on the dance floor with an assortment of Azonto music , with its heavy rhythmn and staccato beats , and some delightful local Sierra Leone and Limba tribal music. Madam Fanta Kallon and Mr. Busairi Savage acted as M.C. and Co-M.C. respectively , with Mr.Savage, a dramatist, miming one of the Limba songs as members danced in a wide circle, celebrating Limba pride and culture , with their matorma-styled tribal dance. Mr. Savage also introduced the Grand Chief Patron and the Chief Patron.
MEMBERS OF THE MABOHANDAY ORGANIZATION STANDING AT THE FRONT AFTER BEING INTRODUCED
Mabohanday Secretary General, Mr. Alimamy Turay, welcomed the guests on behalf of the Organization and he also introduced the guests and the executive .
MABOHANDAY NEW JERSEY MEMBER ALHAJI BADARA KAMARA ( LEFT ) AND A MEMBER FROM OUT-OF-STATE
The Grand Chief Patron was Sierra Leone’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and Coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10 African States on UN Security Council Reform, Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu while the Chief Patron was the Rev. Dr. Victor Fakondo, a Pharmacist and Proprietor of the Marie Technologies Nursing School.
In his statement , Minister Kabs-Kanu called on Sierra Leoneans to continue to have hope as the Government of President Ernest Koroma was working relentlessly with the International Community to defeat the Ebola scourge back home. He rubbished the New York Times report that officials had given up hope on the Ebola, describing the piece as totally misleading and ridiculous.The Minister said that, on the contrary, President Koroma and government were very determined to win the battle and hopeful that the Ebola virus would be contained and finally defeated. Amidst applause , he informed the crowd that as a matter of fact the Government imported 20 more ambulances this weekend to convey the sick and 10 hearses to pick up dead bodies from homes. He also called on his audience to disregard much of the nonsense being written by disgruntled and unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans in online forums and the social media , describing the writers as detractors , who want to see the government fail. He told the crowd to remain optimistic and join Ebola initiatives in their communities so that “We all would fight and defeat this dangerous scourge as a team. ”
For his part, the Rev. Dr. Fakondo called for patriotism from all Sierra Leoneans at this critical time. He stated that Sierra Leoneans have to be united as a people to be able to win the fight against Ebola. The Pharmacist said that Sierra Leoneans cannot claim to be committed to the Ebola fight while not participating in the many initiatives in the community designed to mobilize support for the Ebola fight. He admonished Sierra Leoneans to join and take active part in the crusade to defeat Ebola in Sierra Leone ( See separate report in another column of this newspaper ).
Before the program officially started, prayers were rendered by ministers representing the Christian and Muslim faiths. The Rev. Sam Pratt from Maryland offered the Christian prayer , while the Muslim prayer was rendered by Alhaji Alieru Bakarr.
THE MATORMA DEVIL DANCING
The organizers provided a wide range of refreshments and a variety of local Sierra Leonean dishes served by charming ladies ,some in fitting native attire. It was an all-together spectacular occasion.
The Chairman of both the New Jersey Chapter of Mabohanday and the Mabohanday Federation of the U.S, Mr. John Samba , in his statement, welcomed the guests and thanked them for travelling from other states to grace the occasion. He said that Mabohanday is a family organization dedicated to the ideals of helping developments projects in Sierra Leone while also promoting Limba pride. The organization, he went on, participates in many causes and has helped mosques and churches through donations as well as offering scholarships to deserving students. Mabohanday has also made useful contributions to the Ebola fight back home, added Mr. Samba.
The climax of the occasion was definitely the entry of the Matorma masked devil, which sent the hall wild with excitement and ecstasy. With the DJ playing a matching song rendered in Limba with the Matorma beat, members danced while a man dressed in traditional Ronko attire , and waving a pony tail ,led the masked devil in its traditional dance around the hall, while some members showered money on the Devil in support and appreciation.
DOING THE MATORMA DANCE