A journey of a girl returning home during a global pandemic

A journey of a girl returning home during a global pandemic
Friday, September 17, 2021

Chongdee, eight years old and has been living with her mother and aunt in Thailand. Chongdee wants to become a teacher when she grows up and has already started practicing her skills by “teaching” her friends and family. Chongdee was born and raised in Laos until her parents divorced when she was four years old. After the divorce, her mother decided to move and live with her sister in Thailand.

Chongdee was able to attend school in Chonburi and she enjoyed school very much, especially mathematics, and art. She also liked drawing, reading and doing puzzles. After school, she would help her mother with the housework, cleaning and washing dishes.

Due to economic challenges, her family decided to return home to Savannakhet province. While traveling back her mother and cousin were infected with COVID-19, and upon arriving in Laos they tested positive, while Chongdee and her aunt tested negative. Chongdee was separated from her mother and had to stay with her aunt at one of Quarantine Centers. Around 30% to 45% of arrivals at the Quarantine centers in Savannakhet in July/August have tested positive for COVID-19, with many becoming infected on their journey back. Chongdee felt very sad and worried about the separation with her mother and cousin.

During her stay in the facility, World Vision provided Chongdee and her aunt with nutritious food and drinking water. Chongdee was eager to accompany her aunt to collect their food each day and wondered what the food would have been. In these stressful times, this is at least something Chongdee’s aunt did not need to worry about, and a bright spot in Chongdee’s day.