Peruvian family stranded in Georgia due to the coronavirus pandemic
GAINESVILLE, Ga. - A Peruvian couple has been stranded in Georgia for close to three months because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Elias and Ana Valles came to the US from Iquitos, Peru to visit their daughter and friends in March.
During their nine-day trip, the Peruvian government suddenly closed its borders, restricting travel in and out of the country.
Their daughter, Ana, is a student in Oklahoma and was supposed to go back to her hometown with her parents for spring break, but was unable to do so.
The family is staying with some longtime friends in Gainesville for the time being.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus has ravaged their hometown.
Hospitals in the largest city in the Amazon are now overflowing, oxygen and medical supplies are low.
"It's a really terrible situation," said Elias Valles.
Dozens in the city have lost their lives to the virus, including two of Valles's relatives and many of their friends.
"My mom lost her mom and her brother in one week," said Ana Valles.
The family has no choice but to grieve the deaths of their loved ones from a distance.
It's no easy task but they said it's a blessing in disguise.
"We feel bad because we cannot return to Peru but in the same time, we can feel good," said Ana Valles, translating for her parents.
There is no guarantee they would have been safe from the virus if they had returned home.
"We are trusting in God because in this situation we see how God provides everything for us," Valles said.
Elias Valles is a pastor in Iquitos. He has been delivering sermons through video chat during his time here in the US.
The entire family has been doing everything they can to provide emotional support for those back home.