The Wion family will say final goodbye to Mrs. Faith-Joy Gbarlee Wion-Bah this weekend in Monrovia, Liberia. Mrs. Wion-Bah died January 21, 2022 following a brief illness at the government-operated John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Sinkor, Monrovia. Born July 15, 1952, she was 69.
Mrs. Wion-Bah is survived by five children: Jerome Wion, Josephine Tanneh Bah, Mark Doe, Morris Bah,, Jefferson Brave Bah and husband Wycliff C. Bah of Liberia. She is also survived by two brothers; Jerry Wehtee Wion of Washington, DC, USA and Samuel Tarteh Wion and sister Sharon Paylee Wion also of Monrovia; one granddaughter, Mabel Wion of Monrovia plus many cousins, nephews, uncles and aunties in the US and Liberia.
She leaves to join her parents: father, Wallace Sahsu Wion and mom, Frances Paylee Gbletoh Kimanye Wion; brothers Gordon Tipahnyonbo Wion, Thomas Sieh Wion, sister Mabel Wion and son Moses Bah.
Wake and funeral will take place this Friday and Saturday at the First Church of Love and Faith, 110 Karpeh Street, New Kru Town, with Pastor Albert Karpeh Presiding and burial is Saturday in Caldwell at a family land.
The family hails from Sinoe County; mother from Jehken-Jarpuken, Jeadepo and father from Bokon Jaedea. The parents met at an American-run Christian Mission in Jarpuken, Jeadepo. Children Gordon, Faith-Joy and Sharon were born in Jeadepo, Jarpuken while Jerry, Thomas, Mabel and Samuel were born in Tubanville, Tartweh near Greenvillw where father Wallace served as pastor.
Jerry Wehtee Wion, the famous brother and now breadwinner of the Wion family, rose to prominence graduating from the Charlotte Tolbert Memorial Academy (CTMA) high school in Monrovia in 1976 and worked as a broadcast journalist, specializing in news reporting and football commentating at Radio ELWA. In 1980, Jerry Wion was named MICAT-TV Executive Mansion Presidential Commentator to President William R. Tolbert and later kept the same position after the April 12, 1980 military coup led by Sgt. Samuel Doe.
Jerry Wion left Liberia in August 1981 for college in the United States and also later worked for global media giant, The Associated Press in Manhattan, New York City from 2000 to 2004 Mr. Wion, since 2006 has been a certified Amtrak train conductor based in Washington, DC and is the sole supporter for his family back in Liberia. His first visit to Liberia was to attend the funeral of their mother Frances Wion in July 2011.
The sudden illness, coupled with the absence of access to critical urgent medical care and subsequent death of our sister, exposes once again the poor and neglected public healthcare system in Liberia after the international community pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Liberia to improve the system in the aftermath of the 2014 Ebola crisis during the presidency of Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
After Mrs. Wion-Bah collapsed at home, family could not call for Emergency Medical Services and Ambulances that are nearly not available to rush patients to hospital emergency rooms in Liberia. The family must find means to transport the sick to the hospital.
At the nearby public Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town where she was taken by the family, doctors suggested she be taken to a private medical facility because Redemption lacks the medical means to treat the patient. So Redemption or UnRedemptiin suggestef the Ma Mary Clinic, a privately operated facility in Caldwell.
With the same outcome as at Redemption, the family took the near-dying patient to another private clinic, the Peace Clinic in Louisiana Township where they were able to hook her up to perhaps the only oxygen canister/tank available. In less than a day and unable to breathe on her own, the family was told to take the patient to the faraway JFK public hospital across town.
Mind you, Peace Clinic decided to unplug their oxygen tank that was keeping Faith-Joy alive.
To add insult to injury, the operator who dubbed his private car as an “Ambulance” with no oxygen tank in it to transport the dying patient across the city was driving on worn out tires. There is no motor vehicle inspection for road worthiness in Liberia. And in the notorious snail and turtle pace congested traffic of the capital, Monrovia, the driver had a flat tire on the way to JFK.
By then, the panic among fearful family members trying to get Mrs. Wion-Bah to the John F. Kennedy Hospital had intensified. They started flagging down cars for the trip to JFK. Time is life, remember? When the family finally found another car hours later to continue the medical life saving journey to JFK, doctors at JFK pronounced her dead upon arrival. This is not new in Liberia and is as old as the country; 175 years and counting.
Remember that Liberia is Africa’s oldest indepedent country; since July 26, 1847, with a national healthcare system not fit to even treat one’s dog. Just a thought and not a sermon.
The Wion family thanks everyone for their support. RIP Faith-Joy Gbarlee Wion-Bah.
For the Wion family,
Jerry Wehtee Wion, baby brother
Washington, DC USA