Balinese woman escapes COVID and family trauma to return to Victorian fruit farm
While many Australians wonder how long it will take before they can vacation in Bali, a Balinese woman who calls Victoria home says her last trip there was sad and stressful.
Ni Wayan Kariani, who has spent the past 12 years working on a summer fruit estate at Lake Boga in northern Victoria, returned to Bali this year for his mother’s funeral.
While there, her father died of COVID-19 and then she contracted the virus.
“When I had COVID I was thinking, ‘Oh my God please help me I can’t die yet because I need to see my sons and my husband,’” Ms. Kariani.
Due to lack of flights, the Australian permanent resident was stranded in Bali for nearly five months.
This month Melbourne became the most locked-in city in the world, but Wayan said conditions in Australia were very different from those in Bali.
She said “everyone” confined with her had COVID.
“They don’t want to be tested for the virus because they are afraid of being quarantined for 14 days,” she said.
“They feel that they cannot do anything, cannot go to work and cannot take care of the children.”
Tourists start to return to Bali
Bali reopened its doors to some foreign tourists from countries like China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand on Thursday.
In Indonesia, COVID cases peaked on July 15 when nearly 57,000 cases were recorded in one day.
The pandemic has killed 143,000 Indonesians.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 149,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered.
Praise for the farmer’s boss
Wayan said his boss, farmer Ian McAlister, was very supportive during his forced stay.
“He would call me every day and ask me how I was doing. I was in Bali for five months and he was giving me a salary every week. He’s a very, very good boss. I am very happy to work for him, “she said. .
Wayan was able to secure a spot on a repatriation flight and, after completing quarantine, she is now back to work at the Boga Lake Farm, with her husband De De and their sons.
“The fact that Qantas and the Australian government are setting up two repatriation flights from Indonesia has been particularly helpful to us and we are very grateful for it,” McAlister said.
“Yeah, they had to pay for their return ticket, which was a lot more than a regular ticket but at least she’s home.”
“She helps me manage one of the packing sheds. She is my right arm, virtually.