Family a vital support in a crisis

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Keeping safe: Colombian family (from left) Alexander Hernandez, Samuel Rincon, Jeronimo Hernandez Rincon (4), Delfina Baquero and Adriana Rincon are living in Invercargill and already in self-isolation. Photo: Supplied

A COLOMBIAN-BORN resident says living overseas is a life dealing with daily challenges.

However, among all the scenarios Invercargill resident Adriana Rincon could think of, the idea of a Covid-19 outbreak and a country’s lockdown was never in her mind.

Mrs Rincon said the past few weeks had been “hard to cope with”.

Away from part of her family, she had already started self-isolation as a preventive measure, and spent her days managing her emotions.

“I can say… I’m having two lives. I can’t sleep much because I wake up to check the news if everyone is all right back home but also need to look after my family here.”

Mrs Rincon considered herself lucky as her parents were in New Zealand visiting her, so she, her husband, her son and her parents were safe at her home in Invercargill.

“I feel very blessed to have them here. They were planning to return to Colombia in June, but at least, until everything is sorted, we will take care of each other. We will do everything possible to help the community in these hard times.”

Denmark exchange student Caroline Berg was also facing stressful days.

She has been living in New Zealand for eight months, but now she just wanted to go back to her family.

“Don’t get me wrong – New Zealand was the best decision I ever made. I really appreciate the support from my host family and everything I learnt here. But with this problem of Covid-19, I really want to be with my family.

She said she had been checking airline websites daily to buy a flight but, as all of Europe was on lockdown, it had been hard.

“I have never been away for so long and the fact is, I can be at home in two days or two months.

“The uncertainty is really hard to cope with. I’ve been having trouble sleeping and feel quite anxious.”

However, she said she was trying to make the best of the situation.

“I feel very lucky to have such great support here and back home. I’m trying to be positive and optimistic.”

When she lands in Denmark, she only wants one thing: “I really just want to look at my family and know they are good.”

Brazilian-born Bruna Hott said the Latin American community was quite strong as well.

They have a WhatsApp group where they communicate and check each other daily to make sure everyone is assisted.

Mrs Hott said, a week ago, a Brazilian man arrived in Invercargill to study at the Southern Institute of Technology.

Following the Government’s directions, he was in self-isolation but nobody knew who he was.

“The whole community started to ask around and we found him. Since then, we have been buying and dropping him some groceries.”

During this self-isolation time, she also created a new routine to strengthen relationships in Brazil.

“Everyday I am calling someone who I have not spoken to for a long time. It is refreshing to listen to their stories and reconnect.”

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