Tanzanian teen Neema Kavishe (19), a resident of Arusha, was devastated when she found she was pregnant and the father abdicated all parental responsibility. She had been desperately in need of school funds to continue her secondary education, but her poor parents were not able to help. Then in June, 2016, Neema was approached by Shomari Mussa, a middle-aged neighbor, on her way to school. She knew him well and thought him a good person. Playing the benefactor, Shomari promised to pay Neema’s school fees for a full year but Shomari had only one intention: sexual relations with poor Neema.
When she revealed her pregnancy to her parents, they were bitter and angry, blaming her for being irresponsible. The baby’s father, Shomari, had long since disappeared. Neema could not attend school pregnant, so they told her to undergo an abortion. At the same time, she was mocked by peers for not using contraception, and she couldn’t bear to look into the eyes of her neighbors. She was traumatized.
Neema contemplated whether or not she should undergo an abortion. At first, she thought to seek advice of friends. These were in favor of abortion. They gave her many reasons: she is poor and would be unable to raise the child; she is still in school and keeping the pregnancy would mean abandoning her future educational accomplishments; and finally, they maintained she would be unable to raise the baby without a father. Neema was leaning towards abortion.
But, thanks to God, Neema was a regular listener to Human Life International’s (HLI) Radio Maria weekly pro-life talk-shows. Amid her torment, God touched her heart. September 13, 2016, she heard Radio Maria discuss the evils of abortion. What moved her most was when she heard that in abortion, “a mother kills her own child who is created in the image of God.” Brought up in the Catholic Faith, she was greatly torn. The day after the program aired, Emil Hagamu, HLI’s Anglophone Africa Regional Director, received a phone call from Neema. She unburdened herself and confided her whole story.
Immediately on hearing her sad voice, Emil said, “I began counseling and assured her of God’s love of her and her unborn child. I told her how precious it was for her to have new life in her womb.” As the session continued, Neema became more at peace and self-assured with her pregnancy. Emil spoke to her with compassion. After all, she had lost love from her parents, peers and neighbors. The question which plagued her was, “How will I bring up the child alone when I am very poor and my parents do not want the child”? Emil’s answer gave her hope, “I will adopt the child after she is born.” He gave her some pocket money for her upkeep. Over time and after future advising sessions, Emil was able to talk to her parents over the phone, asking them to forgive their daughter. Neema and her parents were reconciled.
Neema gave birth to a baby girl on April 21, 2017. This was a day of great joy. She named her Happiness. The child’s birth opened up doors to more opportunities and graces. Neema asked if Emil still kept his promise of adopting the child, to which Emil answered an emphatic, “Yes!” Just few days after Emil’s “Yes” to adopting the child, he received a phone call from a Catholic woman, Honorata Njiu, staying in Zanzibar. She had attempted the religious life but had left. “She asked if I could help her to get a baby girl for adoption. I nearly jumped in ecstasy, but before giving her the good news of Neema’s newborn baby girl, asked why she wanted to adopt a baby when she could have her own. Honorata said she was married to Jesus from the day she joined the religious life and she would remain so the whole of her life.”
There are three procedures to be followed to complete the adoption, which could take up to a year. First Neema and Honorata meet to get to know each other, then they establish conditions for the adoption; and thirdly, complete the adoption legal paperwork. Emil Hagamu: “I am thankful to God that HLI has saved a life, Honorata is committed to a life of chastity and an act of charity has been accomplished.”