Photo Credit: Courtesy of Trina D.
Traveler Story: 'I Flew To Korea To Help My Sister, Now I'm Stuck Here'
COVID-19 has turned millions of travelers’ plans upside down. Countries around the globe are closing their borders in an effort to flatten the curve and get the virus under control.
North Carolina-based traveler, Trina Diakabanzila, and her young child made a journey to South Korea to help her sister with her four children. Little did she know that going to South Korea would force her to remain overseas longer than expected.
“I came here in January because my older sister is stationed here,” Trina told Travel Noire. “She’s a single mother of four and finding someone to watch the kids while overseas was impossible. Therefore, she proposed that she fly my daughter and I here to help her while she was away. Our plan was to return back to the U.S. end of February, but little did I know about what was to take place.”
Since arriving in January, Trina describes things as being chaotic near the base. While the shops and public areas are now a ghost town, trying to get on base takes a lot more effort with the added precautions in place.
As a veteran herself, Trina sometimes goes onto base to get essentials from the commissary. But in order to do so, she must first answer several questions about where she’s visited and she even gets her temperature taken. If a person is seen as a risk, there is a tent set up just outside of the gates where they can be tested on the spot.
Once on base, you are limited in what you can get out of the store and only a limited number of people are allowed inside at once, which means waiting in line first.
“The kids stopped going to school and started doing school work online. Their work became so overwhelming that we hired a tutor who came by the house for about 4 hours each day. The base daycares also closed, leaving many parents in limbo.”
As of now, the plan is to hopefully fly back to the States sometime in May. Trina wants to wait for the virus to ease up some before putting her toddler on a plane for such a long journey. In the meantime, she continues to help her sister out while she goes into work on base each day.
“She’s been working literally seven days a week from early morning to late at night or from early morning to early morning,” Trina said. “When she does get a day off, her phone goes off nonstop because she’s the first one people are calling to make tough decisions and get recommendations as the numbers of cases on the military base continue to rise.”
Travel restrictions from Korea to the U.S. have let up, but Trina will remain there just a little longer since things in the U.S. continue to escalate. She advises everyone to be safe and follow the recommended safety measures, but also remember that this won’t last forever.
To catch more from Trina and her time in South Korea, you can follow her on Instagram at @lelattequeen.
Related: Traveler Story: ‘An Unexpected Gap Year Led Me To Africa’