Latin America

Coronavirus: Teenager home after 59-hour trip from Honduras

Flossy Reeves

Flossy ReevesImage copyright
Flossy Reeves

Image caption

Volunteer teacher Flossy Reeves, 18, arrived in Honduras last August

A teenager has arrived home from Honduras after a 59-hour trip that featured a personal security detail and private flight to Mexico.

Flossy Reeves, from Edinburgh, was a volunteering as an English teacher with Project Trust when she had to leave the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 18-year-old’s parents were given real-time updates on her epic journey by the charity.

She is now self-isolating at home for two weeks.

Flossy was initially set to fly back on 16 March but the borders were closed by presidential decree the day before.

Quarantine for two weeks

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime, Flossy said: “We had to go into quarantine for two weeks.

“It was a bit stressful because we didn’t know if we were going to be able to get out.”

Flossy had been living and teaching in the village of Tomala, in the Lempira region of the country, since August.

It is near the border with El Salvador and Guatemala but the lockdown was so strict the teenager was also told she could not leave the house, even for daily exercise.

Meanwhile, Project Trust, which is based on the Isle of Coll, Argyll and Bute, was pulling out all the stops to get its volunteers home.

Flossy said: “We got diplomatic papers to allow us to come and go, a private security company to drive us to the capital city and then we managed to get a private plane, which was very fancy, to Mexico and then get British Airways flight back to the UK.”

Along the way, the vehicle was stopped at checkpoints and sprayed with disinfectant.

Image copyright
Emily Evans

Image caption

Flossy (left) and fellow volunteer Emily Evans

The finer detail of the trip, which started at 10:00 GMT on Friday, included an 11-hour drive to the capital, Tegucigalpa.

From there, Flossy and Emily Evans, 18, from Linlithgow, met up with about 30 fellow volunteers for a private flight to Tolucha.

They had a brief stop, after entering Mexican air space, in Tapachula to allow police and sniffer dogs to check that the aircraft was not carrying any illicit substances.

The final leg saw them fly from Mexico City to London before catching a flight to Glasgow and getting a lift to Edinburgh.

Flossy said: “It is a very strange feeling that I have. It has not hit me yet that I am home.

“I came back last night about 10pm and I have not hugged my mum or dad.

“We are keeping two metres distance because I have obviously been travelling internationally.”

‘Very sad to leave’

Flossy was inspired to travel abroad to teach English in her gap year after sister Imogen, 20, spent hers in Cambodia.

The former Portobello High School pupil will start her product design and innovation degree at Strathclyde University in the autumn.

But she will always have fond memories of her time in South America.

Flossy said: “It was such a lovely town that I was living in and Honduras as a whole was absolutely amazing.

“Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I was very sad to leave.”

Flossy’s mother, Rachael Yates, is grateful for the way the charity handled the fast-moving situation with its crisis management partners.

She said: “Project Trust were utterly amazing and I cannot praise them enough.

“I was in bits when she got back. I was so excited to see her but emotional as well.

“I don’t think it has sunk in how epic her adventure was.”