Watch: Stranded in India; “She’s the missing piece in our family jigsaw puzzle”

Johann and Nicolette Borg along with their 3-year-old daughter Leah Mae traveled to India early in March. Around the same time the family was traveling to India to meet their second daughter and conclude the adoption process, the World Health Organisation amid coronavirus concerns, released the international community’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to help protect states with weaker health systems.

The WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, and recognized it as a pandemic on 11 March. So far there have been 1.5 million of coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide. In Malta, there were three COVID-19 related deaths while over 350 cases have been confirmed of which 44 patients have successfully recovered.

Newsbook.com.mt reached out to the family currently in living inside a hotel room in New Delhi as they wait for the Indian authorities to lift the lockdown. When the interview was conducted, the lockdown was scheduled to be lifted mid-April however in the days that followed the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the lockdown would remain in place until the end of April. For the family this meant that government offices would remain closed and that they could not acquire the travel documents for the newest family member, Francesca.

Speaking about the adoption process, Johann recalled that the Maltese High Commissioner to India had called them to leave the village from where Francesca was adopted since a ban on internal flights had been looming. The family then arrived at New Delhi where they have been for some fifteen days. Johann and Nicolette told Newsbook.com.mt how despite being faced with so much uncertainty, the experience was a positive one that gave them their second daughter.

Spending the days locked in their room, Nicolette explained that while for Francesca it was easier, Leah Mae wanted to return to Malta. Leah Mae misses their cats back in Malta. They try to keep the children busy through drawing, colouring and watching videos. Food is brought up to their room as they cannot leave.

Both Johann and Nicolette said that it would be difficult for them to forget this trip to India. Apart from adopting their second daughter they have ended up an unpredictable situation. “When Francesca grows up we will have a lot of stories to tell her,” Johann told Newsbook.com.mt. “She was the missing piece in our family’s jigsaw puzzle and this whole experience brought us more together as a family,” Nicolette remarked.

An appeal for help

The unexpected overstay in India has led to mounting bills. Family friends have launched an online appeal for donations. The donations will go directly to the family and one may contribute via Revolut on 79260226  or via bank transfer.

Nicolette, Johann and their daughter Leah Mae travelled to India to bring Francesca home before the measures for the…

Posted by Feliciann Aquilina on Friday, April 10, 2020

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