FRACKVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Sites that report coronavirus cases suggest the majority who contract the virus recover. But when you’re stranded thousands of miles from home, it can be hard to feel hopeful.
A local woman on a graduate study abroad program is among the more than 1,000 Americans affected by travel restrictions in Peru.
The global COVID-19 precautions have seen Peru ban travel in and out of the country.
When a Frackville woman boarded a plane to study abroad in South America back in January, she never expected to be quarantined from a global pandemic so far from home.
After arriving in mid-January for a study abroad program in Cusco, Peru, the warning signs didn’t start popping up for Madison Stoyer and others until two months later.
With more and more people getting sick, Peru shut down its boarders, stranding more than a thousand Americans.
“We started realizing that things were getting bad when people’s schools started saying ‘hey, you should probably come home,” said Madison Stoyer. “We were only given less than a 24-hour notice to book a flight or get out.”
And even though Stoyer is registered in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program, pleas for help to the U.S. Embassy went unanswered.
“Basically just to wait it out and that there’s nothing they can do because there’s so many people trying to contact them,” she said.
Stoyer says aside from announcements from the Peruvian president, there’s very little new information coming in.
She and her roommate at least have the comfort of a host family. Others she says are truly stranded.
“They are so kind, generous,” said Stoyer’s roomate Christina Krewson, of Schenectady, New York. “And are really good about telling us to not worry and they’re going to do everything they can to support us.”
Meanwhile, more than 3,600 miles and a continent away, Madison’s parents are waiting helplessly.
“I’m not getting any information from these representatives or senators,” said Madison’s father, Curt. “It’s disheartening because it’s our daughter.”
Talking online helps keep them calm but the Stoyers admit this global pandemic standing between them and their family is trying.
“I know she’s safe and I keep saying she’s safe,” said Madison’s mother, Denise. “She’s got a roof over her head and food, but I want her here, safe with food and a roof over her head.”
The parents are now hoping U.S. government officials step up and they can reunite with their daughter.
“We’re U.S. citizens and we’re proud to be part of our country but we want to come home,” said Madison. “We want to be home with our families.”
The travel ban in Peru is set to clear on April 2nd and the Stoyers have booked a flight home for that day.