A Kiwi woman stranded in India has seen her mental health suffer as she counted down the days for her flight home to New Zealand, only for the Government to announce a temporarily ban on travellers from the country.
Kate Moore has been living in a "little village in the very north" of Goa since last February and says while she has been "very blessed to be here," her mental health has taken a toll.
She says she's been "trying to get home since April last year and it’s quite literally been impossible as she was unable to afford the $5000 tickets for a repatriation flight.
“I don’t know anyone who could really just afford $5000 just like that so that wasn’t an option for me. My family was unable to help me either with any of that,” she said.
Moore said it took months before Emirates was offering flights from India to New Zealand, but she was unable to afford its steep pricetag.
When she was finally able to afford the flight, however, it took three months before she could secure a spot in MIQ.
“January, I think, I finally managed to get one for April and it took like three days of me nonstop trying to get an MIQ date and a flight that actually matched because there’s not many flights going from India in the first place.
"When I finally managed to do that, I was supposed to be coming home on April the 22nd and I’ve been counting down."
She says while she feels "really grateful to be here because I do love India so much," being away from her loved ones and her twin sister's newborn "is a really big deal for me and my mental health is really been suffering".
"I’ve been trying my best to stay on the positive note but there’s only so much that one can take when you’re away from home for so long, and so it’s just like as much as everything’s fine, it’s really difficult. It’s really, really difficult.”
Moore says she learned of the cancellations after being woken up by a call from her sister “bawling her eyes out, saying that the flights have been cancelled”.
“Because I’ve been literally counting down, I felt frustrated with myself that I was too excited because it’s finally so close.”
She adds that it was “really disheartening” to see “really horrible” comments from Kiwis on Facebook.
“It’s such a privileged thing to say that you could just come home if you wanted to come home, like it’s quite obviously not the case."
“All I ever wanted with every part of my being is to come home and I haven’t been able to and then to read everyone saying that they don’t deserve to come home, they’re not real Kiwis … I feel like part of it is completely racist and part of it, they have no idea because I’m a New Zealand-born citizen and I’m still stuck here and I couldn’t have come home.”
“I just have to hope the suspension isn’t extended further … the uncertainty of that in itself is very stressful for me.”