My grandfathers were lay-ministers in the Church of the Brethren, and my father, Earl H. Traughber, served as a pastor of the COB for all of his professional life. My mother and grandmothers were dedicated Brethren women. I am a member of the La Verne COB, in La Verne, California.
Jeanette Mills aka Jabonkah Sackey and I are donating $1.00 for every copy of Jabonkah’s childhood memoir DRIVING THE BIRDS that is sold on-line to the COB. For years, the COB has working with the Church Aid Inc., which is located in Monrovia, Liberia, as partners in the COB’s Global Food Crisis Fund. Because Jabonkah is Liberian, we felt it appropriate to help her people, Liberians. When we approached the COB about our desire to help Liberians, we were pleased to learn that the COB already had enjoyed a partnership with Church Aid Inc.
Jeanette revealed her childhood secrets in DRIVING THE BIRDS after fifty years of silence, so that young girls would not have to suffer female genital mutilation (FGM) like she had at the age of eight. She was a member of the Goal tribe and lived in a small village near Bomi Hills, Liberia. The year was 1956 when she was taken to the Sande’s secret society bush where they performed FGM on her and thirteen other girls, four of which died.
The Sande is a powerful organization in Liberia that has connections through out Liberian society, including the government. Simply telling the Sande to stop FGM is unrealistic, unless, there was a highly compelling need for the Liberian government to make such a decree and ENFORCE it.
Jeanette and I chosen to sponsor Church Aid Inc. in their efforts to educate women and girls about many issues that include teen pregnancy and child prostitution and HIV and FGM. Education is key. Women and girls of Liberia need our help in becoming knowledgeable about choices in their lives and taking an active role in their fates.
Liberia has so many needs as one of the poorest nations on earth. In a largely male dominated society, Jeanette and I want to help the women and girls of Liberia to have better lives. Young boys suffer too; some 3,000 children die each year from diarrhea, due to lack of clean water and because of poor sanitation.
Coming very soon will be the opportunity for you to help Jabonkah’s Liberia through Church Aid Inc. I’ll let you know when we have established a charitable donation link with the COB for Church Aid Inc.
May God bless Liberia, Jabonkah’s and the earth’s people.
Russell Traughber, Author of Driving the Birds, Anti-FGM activist