January 4, 2013 was meant to be celebration time for the Taumbe family of Green Corner in Blantyre. This was the day they would be celebrating their first anniversary in marriage.
And with the gift of a baby girl to savour, what a special occasion it was promising to be!
Until fate intervened cruelly.
Instead of spending the eve of the big day cuddling little Upile as the baby waited to mark a month on this side of life, the family went about hunting down a woman who had stolen the baby at Zingwangwa Health Centre.
On the fateful day, January 3, Upile developed a fever, so her mother Bridget Taumbe took her to the health centre for treatment. The search for the baby’s good health went terribly wrong at the health centre when a woman who passed off as a Good Samaritan stole the baby.
“Upile had a fever and at about 8am on January 3 I set off for Zingwangwa Health Centre. After receiving an injection, the baby began crying, and I took her outside the treatment room. As I was trying to strap her on my back, she continued to cry.
“All the while, there was a woman beside us. Apparently touched by Upile’s cries, the woman offered to carry the baby while I packed some stuff. I gave her the baby.
“After I was done with packing, I turned and tried to retrieve the baby from the woman, but, alas, she was gone,” said Bridget, 20, on Friday as she sobbed at Blantyre Police Station.
She said when she asked around for the whereabouts of the woman, people only said they had seen her walking around the health centre.
Bridget said she had no idea that a woman who looked angelic would turn the devil.
“Beside the bag which contained the baby’s stuff, there was a wrapper and a K500 note that belonged to the woman. This put me in a comfort zone because I thought after giving me back the baby, she would get her wrapper and money, but, ah! my God, my baby is gone!” she narrated.
Bridget said after failing to locate the woman and the baby, she rushed to Chilobwe Police Unit to report the matter and surrender the woman’s possessions.
“Whoever is keeping my baby, please bring her to me. Upile is my only child…” she cried as she failed to finish the sentence.
According to Bridget, when told that his daughter had been stolen, her husband, Ethelbert, was in disbelief and denial. She said he only accepted the situation after he tried to look for the baby in Zingwangwa and Chilobwe but yielded nothing.
Blantyre Police spokesperson Yona Thembachako said officers have launched a search for the bay.
Thembachako said those who know a woman who had a baby but was not known to have been pregnant should contact police.