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Daniela Lobo-Rivera, currently in Miami, Florida, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Published July 23, 2020
When Daniela Lobo-Rivera’s parents got sick, she couldn’t get back to them.
Her home country, Honduras, halted all international flights as Emerson shut down campus, leaving Lobo-Rivera stuck in the U.S. Her only choice was to live in her grandmother’s apartment in Miami, Florida. Three months later, her mother and stepfather told her they had contracted the coronavirus.
While her mother’s case was mild, her stepfather was hospitalized, unable to breathe without a ventilator.
“At a distance, you cannot do anything,” Lobo-Rivera said in a Zoom meeting from Miami. “It was really stressful because my mom was handling that on her own and I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Lobo-Rivera criticized the government for not responding promptly enough to the outbreak. Honduras’ healthcare system has become overburdened, and Lobo-Rivera’s family had to pull strings for her stepfather to even get a hospital bed.
“You have to have contacts,” Lobo-Rivera said. “Even if you have money and even if you have health insurance, that doesn’t work right now.”
Facetime is the only way that Lobo-Rivera can connect with her family, but she says she wishes she could be there in person, helping out around the house and taking care of her stepfather.
“My mom would tell me, ‘I feel like I’m in a war zone,’” Lobo-Rivera said. “People would come in [to the hospital] with their cars and their family members in the backseat screaming that their family members were not breathing, and my mom would be right there staring at that.”
Having seen the harm the virus can do firsthand, Lobo-Rivera’s parents do not want her to return to campus in the fall. She is currently deciding whether to come back or attend classes online from Florida.
Lobo-Rivera said she is still looking for tickets to Honduras everyday, booking new tickets every time there is an announcement that the country will reopen, and then cancelling the tickets after the lockdown is extended.
“What kills me is the uncertainty, not knowing what is going to happen to us,” Lobo-Rivera said.