LOS ANGELES — It was a reunion forty years in the making but cut short by the pandemic.
Nanay Fedelina’s family — which includes her sister Eunila, Eunila’s daughter Luz and granddaughter Tiny — finally reconnected earlier this month, after the now 83-year-old Fedelina had spent six decades kept as a servant.
They had to cut their three-week trip a week short, as they traveled back to the Philippines before tighter travel restrictions took place amidst COVID-19 — but said they were thankful for the experience.
“Maraming Salamat sa inyong lahat, n’agita hindi ko makakatia sila, Salamat sa inyong layât,” said Nanay.
“Thank you so much. If it wasn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t see them, so thank you everyone.”
With many places taking precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, many destinations from Disneyland to Universal were closed.
But despite the limitations, the family was able to spend time together.
It gave Nanay’s visitors a chance to thanks those that have cared for the human trafficking survivor, from the Philippine Consulate, to the Pilipino Workers Center, and even the staff at the care home where Nanay lives, even if they can only show their gratitude through the window due to strict social distancing rules.
“Marami sya Kaibigan mag aalala sa kanya. Masaya, nakita ko ang kapatid ko, hindi tunkol sa kapatid ko, hindi akt nakarating dito,” said her sister.
“Fedelina has many friends taking care of her. I’m happy, I saw my sister. If it wasn’t for her, I’d never visit Los Angeles.”
While Eunila is 87-years-old, and Fedelina is 83, they’re hoping this isn’t the final goodbye. They hope to reunite again in the Philippines, as Nanay Fedelina awaits her trafficking visa to process.
As Nanay returns home to her adoptive family, she now goes back with many new memories that will last a lifetime, new memories that she made with the family whom she lost a decade ago, who she thought shed never see until the community came together to make it happen.