The older sister (adult) of our Naomi (pictured above) appeared in Pangeti after traveling from bordering Mozambique one week ago. She approached the family and asked for the return and custody of Naomi. The older sister indicated that she has satisfied a personal unpaid debt of 100,000 Kwacha ($100.00) USD) by offering Naomi as collateral.
Unfortunately, this perspective of a person being treated as transferable property is not uncommon. It is then made exponentially worse by a blood family member making a transaction with a very vulnerable little sister to get out of a financial jam. Naomi would have likely been sexually abused and trafficked had this transaction occurred,
This event is similar to the recent abduction of Stella. Click on the link below to read the story of Stella’s capture and return.
Mayi Chiemba (pictured above) from Blantyre was at the home caring for the girls temporarily. She quickly directed the sister to speak to Pastor Kausiwa (local village pastor) to discuss her claim. Pastor Kauwisa confronted the sister about her claim and intentions. He made it clear that Naomi is part of family, church and village who will defend and protect her. He told her that she is not a piece of property that can be traded and trafficked.
The older sister was upset at the response. She threatened to come back with men to physically take Naomi. She then departed. The pastor took the threat seriously.
Mayi Chilemba called Prince Kampomo in Blantyre and asked him to come to Pangeti quickly. He drove the 4 hour distance and quickly checked on the girls and then met with Pastor Kausiwa. Prince asked to meet the village headman (local chief), the Group Village Headman (his boss) and the local Police.
The Group Headman made it clear that Naomi is part of the community and will not be taken by anyone. He said that there will be no more events like Stella’s abduction in the spring. All parties were comforted by the clear message from the Group Headman.
To date the older sister has not returned. We are thankful.