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Sarah Nenwokay Vonyee Gaye

Ma Vonyee or Sis. V as we commonly called her, was born Sarah Nenwokay Vonyee Gaye on August 13, 1955 in a town right outside Tappita City called Vahntown to the union of Nyreantoe Gaye and Vonyee-tay. It was while growing up in this town that she developed most of her core social values that stayed with her throughout her life. Her father Nyreantoe had several siblings and there is an entire quarter in Vahntown dedicated to our family; everyone born in this quarter was known and accepted as family regardless of the biology of their birth. No wonder, Ma Vonyee lived her life accepting scores of people as family – she was reared that way. Ma Vonyee left Vahntown as a young child and moved to Yekepa where she completed her elementary and junior high education. After graduation from Junior high school, she moved to Monrovia and enrolled at Richard Henries High School. It was at this institution that she met the love of her life, Abednego Dahn, Sr in 1971. After living together for a protracted period of time, the two got married in December, 1978. In 1980, Ma Vonyee came to live with her husband in Providence, Rhode Island and adopted this city as her second home – she lived here for over 37 years until her unfortunate passing on May 5th, 2016.

Their relationship was blessed with 8 beautiful and enterprising children: Prince, Luah, Abednego, Jr, Dominic, Abeyee, and Nyreanto as well as Sarah and Antoinette; plus 19 grandchildren. She also informally adopted scores of other young and middle-aged people that she called her sons and daughters and most of them can be seen here today.

In the state of Rhode Island and other places, Ma Vonyee was also a community organizer and leader, playing a pivotal role in activities and events that impacted us and our community. She served in several capacities and eventually the president of Zodo, the local chapter of the United Nimba Citizens’ Council (UNICCO) for several years as well as the Coordinator of the Tappita District Development Association (TADDA) Rhode Island Chapter since 2002 – a position she held up to the time of her demise. She was always there for family, friends, and the community – the first to meet and greet visitors and the last to wave goodbye. She touched the lives of so many people - young and old. Her death is an irreplaceable loss to not only her immediate family and relatives but to the Nimba and the entire Liberian Communitie as well.

Ma Vonyee Dahn, was a lady of virtue and integrity and was a role model to several young girls as well as her own friends; the relationship she had with her children was enviable and should be emulated by all of us who have kids. While she lived, Ma Vonyee positively impacted us all; she established and maintained a special relationship with all her children, relatives, friends, and siblings and sometimes, perfect strangers.

Ma Vonyee was studious and she was loyal. When she made friends, she kept them for life. Twenty-five years ago, she got hired at Charlesgate Nursing Home; for 25 unbroken years, through the good times and the bad, the high times and the lows – loyalty was never made of sterner stuff. We shall all miss her deeply.
Ma Vonyee lived her life well.
When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our homes so lonely and drear;
Then do we wonder why...?
But when we see Jesus coming in glory,
From His home in the sky; …
We'll understand it all by and by.
Though we see through a glass darkly,
Have a thousand questions that no one can answer now
Farther along we'll know all about it.
Farther along we'll understand why;
Cheer up my brothers and sisters live in the sunshine
I promise you, We'll understand it all by and by.

Sis Vonyee was a godly woman; she was a devout Baptist and a founding member of the Devine Deliverance Baptist Church. She was the first treasurer and served with distinction; in June, 2014, she was consecrated as a deaconess for the church, a position she held until her unfortunate passing on May 5th 2016.

Ma Vonyee was a woman of substance, a woman of integrity, and a role model for us all. Sis Vonyee has now returned to her maker; she fought a good fight, she kept the faith and she left her mark on us all. She worked hard and now it’s her time to rest. Let us all resolve that the good work she started, the positive impacts she made on us will not fade away. Let us all resolve that we shall continue what she started, that we will be each other’s keeper, that we will feed the hungry when we see them, invite the lonely in, adopt the orphans, and maybe most of all, make sure that her legacy will never die. Sis V., my sister, my aunty, my mother, farewell; rest in peace.