PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 NEWS) - They volunteered to build wells, teach proper hygiene and help clean up after a massive flood earlier this year. But less than a month into their stay, one member of the group was scarred forever.
ABC 4 spoke with the mother of one of the kids in Fiji and this is what she had to say about the incident.
"They had an incident of some kind where a girl was taken, kidnapped you could say on Monday night there," said the mother, who did not want to be identified.
She was taken just blocks from the house where the group of ‘Help International’ volunteers was staying.
She turned up an hour and a half later badly beaten and needing help.
Now, her friends worry what's next.
"They're scared, they're fearful of what might happen there and there might be a lot of repercussions politically," said the mother.
The group is worried the attack was in retaliation from their landlord, upset because they were looking to move out to find a larger place.
"They were being threatened by the landlord because of the fact they were moving because the housing wasn't adequate for the additional students that were coming," said the mother.
‘Help International’ booked the house for the group. ABC 4 News spoke with the organization to hear what they had to say about the allegations.
"That's currently speculation. We don't have any confirmed details of any landlord that we were working with," said Help International Executive Director Matthew Colling.
‘Help International’ says it's working with the U.S. embassy to ensure that the volunteers are safe. In fact, they've found new housing for the group away from where the attack took place.
That's little comfort for a mother worried about her child, half a world away.
"I feel like there must be more to this story that I'm not getting. My main concern is just safety. I want to make sure the kids are safe there," said the mother.
Colling assured ABC 4 that if there ever is a volunteer who doesn't feel safe or is not comfortable with the current situation, the organization will bring them home.