KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A metro couple is back home and in quarantine after being stuck in Peru for weeks.
When they left, the coronavirus seemed far away, but it led to a complicated path home.
Brett and Emily Lynch planned for a year with their family to visit Peru. The couple and 12 family members set off to see the country on March 9.
“We knew that corona was a thing,” Brett said. “There hadn’t yet really been talk of social distancing and lockdowns. It was only China at that point. We knew China and maybe Italy was having some issues.”
They enjoyed a few days of their trip, visiting Lima and Machu Picchu. However, before they knew it, Peruvian officials were closing the borders, and President Donald Trump was restricting travel.
“It was a really quick turn as far as — tourists are out, everyone’s on the beach, things are great, to the president is on the news and 24 hours from now the borders are locked,” Brett said.
The family stayed in quarantine, trying to figure out how to get home. Emily and her family are Canadian. The couple was juggling both embassies to find a way out.
The couple said one of the highlights of quarantine was the nightly gatherings of residents on balconies saying hello, clapping for one another and checking in at a distance.
“It was awesome because the common enemy wasn’t other people,” Emily said. “It was a virus, so it was really awesome to see people coming together.”
Eventually, the couple made it back to Lima. They went to the U.S. Embassy at 5 a.m. to wait in line. They made it on a plane to Washington D.C. and then arrived home in Kansas City on April 2.
“Every step of the way there were people there that, if you had your eyes up and weren’t just concerned about your own situation, you saw people who were having 18-hour days, multiple days in a row, and their whole priority wasn’t their family, but their fellow Americans,” Brett said.
The entire family is home now in both the U.S. and Canada. The couple was in touch with Missouri Rep. Sam Graves’ office while they figured out how to get back.