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An interview with two members of the MBHS Global Initiative

23 November 2016 at 20:34 | 1644 views

By a Special Correspondent

Interviewer: Mr. Wilfred Quasie-Woode, can you please tell us who you are?

Wilfred Quasie-Woode: I am a proud Sierra Leonean, born and raised in the west end of Freetown. I obtained my high school education from the renowned Methodist Boys’ High School in Kissy Mess Mess, Sierra Leone. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, I proceeded to the United States of America, in pursuit of an advanced education and better opportunities. While in the USA, I specialized in soil remediation, and graduated with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of Maryland, University College.

I am currently employed as a Senior Environmental Scientist, with a reputable organization in the state of Virginia. I am assigned to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Program, working assiduously, toward the reduction of Non-Point Source Pollution.

I currently live in the state of Maryland, and have been blessed with Phylinda, my devoted and beautiful wife of 26 years. Together with two daughters and a son, we make a warm and happy family.

My passion is always to give a “helping hand” to the needy, fully knowing that opportunities are best shared, than flaunted.

Wilfred Quasie-Woode

Interviewer: You mentioned that you graduated from the Methodist Boys’ High School, in Kissy Mess Mess, Sierra Leone. What do you know of the current learning environment at the school?

WQ: Sadly, learning conditions at that beloved institution of mine are palpably deplorable. Lack of ideal learning environment for the students, absence of personal and professional incentives to attract the best teachers to the school, and more so, lack of strong leadership and adequate funding have all played a significant role in the school’s demise.

As dire as the learning conditions may be, I believe there is hope for restoration, if only those of us who have been blessed with better opportunities can work in concert to bring about changes.

We must realize that those sons of ours who are students at the school are indeed the future leaders of our beloved Sierra Leone. It’s never too late to implement changes for the better. Our school’s motto reminds us that we must labor today, in expectation of a better tomorrow.

Interviewer: I heard about a robust body, the Methodist Boys’ High School Global Network Initiative (M.B.H.S.G. N. I.). What group is that, and what are its objectives?

WQ: In my pursuit to share my opportunities with today’s students of my Alma Mater, I joined the Methodist Boys’ High School Alumni Association Washington Metropolitan Chapter. Sooner, rather than later, I realized that our organization together with others, as well as some well-meaning individuals were all working very hard to support the school. Only, there was a lack of strategic focus and coordination.

Together with key members of the various entities mentioned, we formed an amalgamated organization, which we called the Methodist Boys’ High School Global Network Initiative. This group consists of all entities that form the institution, such as the Methodist Mission, Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Education, staff and students, all chapters of Alumni associations at home and in the Diaspora, individuals, and well-wishers.

The MBHSGNI is steered by a group of dedicated alumni, chaired by the head of the Methodist Mission, with me as the Vice-Chairman.

The MBHSGNI’s strategy was first, to prepare a “Needs Assessment Document” (NAD), with the input of all the key players in the school system. This document prioritizes projects that all parties are encouraged to support as a team. Secondly, the group set parameters in place to ensure clear communication and transparency in accountability for all projects it will embark on.

I am proud to say that since its inception five years ago, the MBHSGNI has made some gigantic steps towards improving basic conditions at the school. Our latest accomplishment was the completion of a $75,000.00 perimeter security wall around the school’s campus. While that was by no means a small task, the MBHSGNI is not resting on its oars, because we know we still have a long way to go.

Only by providing ideal learning conditions for its student, will the MBHS and for that matter Sierra Leone, be able to produce her very own “Obamas” and “Mandellas.”

Interviewer: Mr. Spurgeon Eku Parker, you are also an alumnus of the MBHS, Sierra Leone; it is my understanding that you were in Freetown, Sierra Leone very recently and you volunteered to visit the Methodist Boys’ High School campus at Kissy Mess Mess. I believed your visit brought memories of yester years – tell us about it.

Spurgeon Eku Parker

Spurgeon Parker: It was very euphoric, I visited my first classroom or form at the Methodist Boys’ High School. It brought back sad memories, the sanitation was poor, electricity was out, the chalkboard or blackboard was barely visible or non-existent. The school is obviously not the same going back to the days of T. J. Ford. I do not want to be all negative. I was very impressed with the security wall built around the perimeter of the school, even more so excited as I was present at the final completion of the wall. I doff my hat to the alumni and friends of the MBHS, who helped pay for the security wall. The school is now secure with a guard at the entrance to verify that only students and people who have valid business to conduct at the school enter the compound.

We have to rebuild inside the school, we have to make sure there is running water, the bathrooms are clean. These are some of the things the MBHS alumni are have to start working towards. Without the MBHS Alumni Association, the rebuilding of the school facilities is a lost cause. The Methodist Church do not have money to support the school anymore, the Sierra Leone Government cannot do much, considering the economic challenges facing the country. These are some of the reasons, why I support the idea to have a chapter of the M.B.H.S.A.A in Texas, to join the efforts of the only two active chapters in the diaspora—Washington and the U.K chapters. I believe there are so many, thousands of alumni of the MBHS, we should come together to assist in the rebuilding of the school.

Interviewer: Mr. Quasie-Woode, in your capacity as Vice-Chairman of the Methodist Boys’ High School Global Network Initiative I understand that one of your responsibilities is to encourage old boys and girls of the MBHS to organize into alumni associations in their various cities, states, or countries. For example, Texas and its surrounding states have recently incorporated a chapter, and I heard an Official Launching Dinner and Dance is being planned as we speak – tell our readers about this majestic event.

WQ: That is true! Members of the MBHS GNI in Freetown and in the Diaspora are fully aware that they do not belong to an exclusive organization. We know that the more we can grow the group, the more goals we can accomplish for the good of our school. So yes, I inspire a membership committee whose task is to grow the base.
I am so proud of the fortitude displayed by members of the Texas Alumni Association up to this point. They will be holding their Inaugural Dinner and Dance on Saturday December 17, 2016 in Plano, Texas.

As Vice-Chairman of the MBHS GNI, I have been given the honor to serve as the Distinguished Grand Chief Patron at that monumental occasion. I plan to be in attendance together with members of our Washington chapter, to lend our support to our new support team – The MBHS Alumni Association Texas Chapter. I hope they will attract patrons from far and wide, to support their common venture.

I pray that the Almighty continues to give the leaders strength to move the group forward, and wisdom to handle challenges that may arise.

Contacts:

Wilfred Quasi-Woode
Email: WWoode@gmail.com

David Kessebeh
Email: Davidk@sierracare.org;
Phone: 214-529-4712

Spurgeon Eku Parker
Email: Parker.Spurgeon@gmail.com

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