Gongloe Families Lift Father’s Legacy at Height
– Constructs Modern
Library in Rural Nimba
When the name Gongloe is called in the public space, minds run to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), is also known for rendering free legal services to poor people and human rights advocacy. He and his siblings, including Nimba County senatorial contestant Edith Gongloe-Weh and others, have dedicated a huge resource center in their home village in Glehyee Zorpea, Yarwin Mensonnoh County District now Electoral District #9, a building that many who witnessed the dedication on Friday, December 5, 2020, described as “The first public library in Nimba County and perhaps Liberia.”
Their deceased father, Wilfred Gongloe, served the Wehbeanlu Public School in Glehyee Zorpea from 1975 to 1992 as Principal and was regarded as an influential teacher who encouraged a lot of sons and daughters of that village to go to school. As a successful teacher, none of his children is without education, and they are all at the height of good living conditions.
To maintain the memory of Teacher Wilfred Gongloe, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, who is the first among eleven children, said: “My siblings and I decided to build this resource center without help from an outsider in memory of Teacher Gongloe’s services not only to us the children but others in Mensonnoh here as well. As you all know, Teacher Gongloe taught here and impacted a lot of people, and when I consulted my brothers and sisters, they agreed that we should not only erect a hall but attach a library for students in this district and Glehyee to read and we are going to fill this center with books of all professional courses including Law as you may know I am a lawyer, and we will bring computers so that students from here will already be acquainted with the knowledge before going out.”
Teacher Gongloe was buried on the campus of the Wehgbeanlu Public School (elementary), and seeing the grave on the campus, Cllr. Gongloe and his siblings decided that they do not want the campus to be a graveyard and therefore concluded that such a huge resource center be built over it to be used by the town, clan, district, and county at large.
“People in Glehyee, this resource center is yours,
and you should take full control of it. Except for some non-governmental organizations and public institutions that may want to use it for a workshop that I think they should pay something for maintenance, you can use the auditorium to carry out programs of interest to you as we present it freely to you this day,” said Cllr. Gongloe.
They are stressing the importance of the library, Cllr. Gongloe said education is the only property an individual can take with him or her anywhere in the world to survive on and be lifted out of poverty.
“I worked with the United Nations in South Africa and Ethiopia, and in these places, nothing led me there besides education. We all left here during the war and went to different parts of West Africa, but we did not carry cocoa or rubber farm with us besides education. People who knew how to do something with their knowledge lived by that until they returned. So, let the teachers and students make use of this center for their betterment tomorrow,” Gongloe added.
He also acknowledged the role of the town’s people for hauling sand and molding bricks for the construction work and his uncles from Quoipa in Bong County for similar assistance.
Cllr. Gongloe said the family initiative being done solely by the family members should serve as an example for others to emulate because the nation is not built by the government alone but by every individual citizen who has the opportunity to do. “We hope others can see this to do better than we did, for a nation is built through a public, private partnership,” he said.
As it may be the case, such a resource center cannot be found in Nimba County at large. The presence of this huge building surrounded by forest vegetation in that village leaves no one without excitement, and Nimba County Education Officer Edwin Dologbay is not an exception.
At the dedication ceremony, Mr. Dologbay commended the Gongloe family and promised to send Liberian textbooks to the center to help students to read.
“We have more of Ministry of Education’s prescribed textbooks at the central office, and we are going to bring more here to equip this center. Whenever we talk about textbooks, school principals and teachers are not excited to come for them, but when it is food, you will hear accusations on the radio, and people will rush to get it,” said CEO Dologbay. He warned teachers of the Wehgbeanlu Public School to utilize the library to the fullest or risk transfer to other
locations that may not be favorable.
The dedication was also characterized by donations from friends and groups invited to the dedication ceremony. Among groups and individuals who contributed to the project at the dedication were Nimba Rubber Investment (NRI) Manager Harrison Karnwea, US$500, Siaka Toure of Aminata & Sons, US$500, Sekou Bility and family, US$200, Cllr. James E. Peer, US$500, Cllr. Oswald Toweh, US$500, Fula Community in Monrovia, Solar Power installation, Dr. Fredrick Norkeh, US$150, and Tod Dahn L$20,000.
Teacher Gongloe was born June 5, 1922, and died April 2, 2015. His wife Elizabeth Gongloe followed him in June 2020 after becoming stricken at an age like her husband. Apart from the building that will keep the memory of Teacher Gongloe, his statute also stands before it and in the auditorium is a picture tying the couple together on the podium.
Meanwhile, the Gongloe family is among other families known for various potentials as per their family genes. For instance, Joshua Dahn, Registrar of the Wehgbeanlu Public School, categorized them in the following ways:
The Gongloes is known for education in Glehyee Zorpea. “When you speak of the Gongloes, you speak of educated people whom others are following their steps. Their late father, Wilfred Gongloe, was a teacher in this town and clan, and we all know how he impacted the lives of many children. All his children are educated and holding prestigious positions in government and the private sector,” said Joshua.
The Tingban Family, Joshua said, is in history for leadership in Glehyee Zorpea and Mensonnoh Clan as a whole. “You may remember that the late Willie Tingban was a Clan Chief here, and his children, including Robert Tingban and R. Matinokay Tingban, had served as Representatives of this electoral district with distinction,” he said. The Payebayee Family is another family known to be from Glehyee Zorpea. The Payebayees, according to Joshua, are geniuses. “These are people who articulate well and are nurtured in different professional and subject areas. Although he is deceased now, Y. Mewaseh Payebayee was one of Nimba’s best Mathematicians who served as a Principal in Sanniquellie Central High and taught in various schools with the University of Liberia inclusive. You will also name Mark Payebayee and
Jeremiah Payebayee amongst others,” Joshua said.