Left to Die

This global threat was detected from as early as December 2019…yet the virus was not newsworthy until January 2020, and the pandemic took form in February, but was not named or declared as such until March: COVID-19.

By January, there were clear signs that this was serious and by February it was obvious that this was “not like the flu.” Unfortunately, many of us continued with our daily lives vaguely aware of the pending doom. Until March. Like dominoes falling in unison — yet one by one — countries started to close their borders and we of the traveling variety found ourselves trapped overseas – stranded…and in my case, left to die.

I don’t think anyone (apart from those in conflict zones e.g. police, armed forces, medical professionals and now workers on the frontline working through this emergency) wakes up and thinks: “Will I have to choose between my life and my livelihood today?”

They were telling me that European Union rules didn’t allow me to work from home. I needed to deliver to get paid, and my flight was already booked for March 2nd. I tried to resign the month before, but my contractors told me a lot of things, and I believed them. So it’s my fault that I ended up traveling as the pandemic brewed in the background. I had to trust that they would treat me right, but did I really have a choice?

Ofcourse, fairness is a welcomed grace, but never a guarantee when you’re a person of colour.

The client, the local EU Delegation, said I had to continue working and I was now the new co-Team Lead. Since it was my fault the former TL had resigned, I now had to deliver his outputs. So clearly my complaints about his racist, sexist and unethical behavior were simply an inconvenience. But wait, there’s more — “you should be motivated to do this even unpaid”. Say what now?

Hell gave way to another level of torment. I still had not gotten paid in months and I was overseas running out of money. Two weeks later the border closed to incoming passengers. All the flights out were booked and I was stranded. Could this get any worse?

I objected to how I was being treated and that I needed to get home. The EUD said callously: “how will you get off the island?” Excuuuuusssse me?

Oh what pain to hear the dehumanization in those words…

Can someone’s heart be broken so many times by a career she loves?

Yes. Yes…and a thousand heartbreaks later…YES!

A worldwide war had started and I was abandoned. How would I make it out alive?

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