By Sekou Dauda Bangura, USA.
The Maforki Development Association, a proactive association of descendants, family, friends and well-wishers of Maforki Chiefdom, the seat of the Provincial Town of Port Loko, Port Loko District, in the northern region of Sierra Leone, will be having its fundraising dance on Saturday, June 30, at the Days Inn Hotel, 2700 New York Avenue, Washington, DC 20002. Officially launched at the same venue a year ago amid much fanfare, the organization has already sent medical supplies and equipment to improve the healthcare situation in Port Loko.
On Sunday, May 6, the Maforki Development Association had its first picnic at the Woodlawn Park on Annapolis Road, Maryland. The event was not only attended by sons and daughters of Maforki but by many Sierra Leoneans in the Washington Metropolitan area. Aside from the funfest (the eating, drinking and dancing), there was a Health Fair in which nurses that are members of the organization participated in a screening exercise. All those who attended the picnic were encouraged to screen for Hypertension and Diabetes. The organization also collected books, toys, pencils, pens and clothes – all in an effort to ameliorate the plight of the people of Maforki.
Maforki became very famous during the heydays of former first vice president Sorie Ibrahim Koroma. It became a political Mecca when the first Self-Help Project in the country was launched by the late APC political strongman. Every weekend, politicians, civil servants and business people from all across the country, and even beyond, will gather in Port Loko to take part in the construction of the Maforki Hospital and the Bai Bureh Memorial Hall. Those two projects, an enduring monument of Sorie Ibrahim Koroma’s contribution toward the socio-economic and political development of Sierra Leone, are in a moribund state today. There is a dire need to resurrect the Port Loko Hospital and to rehabilitate the Bai Bureh Memorial Hall. Most importantly, there is a need to improve the educational system to bring it up-to-date with the information age. The launching of the Maforki Development Association a year ago is thus seen as a positive move in addressing the myriad of problems plaguing Port Loko.
The late Sorie Ibrahim Koroma, fondly known as SI, introduced the idea of self-help as a way to mobilize and galvanize the energies of the youth for rural development. “It is therefore imperative for descendants of Maforki to come together in the spirit of self-help to address the problems facing Port Loko District. The task at hand is quite monumental, and requires the collective effort of all descendants, family, friends and well-wishers of Port Loko District,” says Khadija Kabba Beaty, in her appeal to sons and daughters of Port Loko all across the United States of America to grace the event on Saturday June 30, 2012 at the prestigious Days Inn Hotel, 2700 New York Avenue, in the nation’s capital Washington DC.
A founding member and president of the Maforki Development Association, Washington Metropolitan Chapter, Khadija Kabba Beatty, aka Baby Jalloh (photo), was born and raised in Port Loko. She had her early education at the Sierra Leone Church elementary school, Port Loko, and the Saint Mary elementary school, Freetown. She went on to attend the Methodist Girls High School after passing the selective entrance examination. Upon passing the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level, she proceeded to the Methodist Boys High School to do her sixth form. While in the US, she graduated as LPN, with an associate degree in Applied Science from Virginia Community College. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from George Mason University, where she is currently completing her Master of Science degree. A healthcare provider for the past twenty years, she is currently a Nurse Manager at the Nova Mount Vernon Hospital, and a member of the adjunct faculty, Howard University.