CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — As travel bans have gone into effect all over the world, some people were able to get out just in time while others are left in a foreign country, waiting to get home.
“As we’re walking back to the hotel, we hear people saying, ‘guys, we have to get out now,’ there are people running with their suitcases,” recalls Ella Mascia. She is a college junior who was studying abroad in Peru when she found out that the country’s borders would be closing.
Ella continues, “So then it was a mad rush looking to book flights, because we had 24 hours to get out of Peru.”
She and only 2 other students of the 21 she was with were able to get out. However, because of all the airport visits and travel, she was told to self quarantine when she got home to Chagrin Falls.
“Unless I need to get food, I just stay in my room, pretty much. It’s hard for my family after the situation, they want to give me hugs and all that stuff,” says Mascia.
While it may be difficult to keep your distance from a family member, some families still don’t have a choice.
“The country itself is on lockdown, so we literally can’t go anywhere. The military is patrolling the streets,” says Stephanie Balochko. She’s a Bedford firefighter/paramedic but also the linebackers coach for the U.S. women’s tackle football team. The team is made up of more than 50 players and coaches that are all stuck in Honduras, after their tournament was cut short.
Stephanie says, “We’re not confined to our rooms or anything. We’re not in quarantine. We’re just stuck in the hotel because we can’t go anywhere. We’re all safe. We’re all healthy. Nobody is sick, we’re just waiting to go home.”
Two local women in two very different locations, because of flight times. However in reality, their situations are similar. They’re both fining ways to pass the time, which includes working on ways to help out their fellow Americans.
“We’re not the only ones down here. There’s other Americans that have reached out asking for help to get them home as well,” says Balochko.
Mascia says, “I’ve created a petition just to try and really get this message out that students need to be safely brought back, as soon as possible.”
Her petition can be found here.
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