(KLTV) - An East Texas woman is living out a nightmare, stuck in another country thousands of miles from home with no passport and a deadly virus outbreak forcing her to remain quarantined in her apartment.
Ashley Jenkins has been stuck in China since early January. The Mabank native flew to China to work for a company teaching English to children, unaware that the country had been overwhelmed by the coronavirus.
“I’m not in a small area, but it seems like I’m in a small area," Jenkins explained. “Nobody is going out, they’re so scared to catch the virus. Nobody is going out, they don’t want to catch it."
“It’s just very hard. Things are shutting down, it’s almost like something out of a horror movie - it’s been crazy," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the coronavirus complicated every aspect of daily life, like going out to get groceries or going for a walk. She said even with a mask to help avoid catching the virus, some days it’s difficult just to leave her apartment.
“I am not able to leave my apartment complex without filling out forms that I don’t understand because I don’t read Mandarin," she said. “It’s just been really hard.
“They won’t let you go anywhere anymore without a mask on. I’m literally constantly walking around [with a mask on]; it’s just not normal.”
To make matters worse, Jenkins said she was attacked during an argument by someone who was supposed to be a potential co-worker. She said the man stole her phone and passport, and she’s had little help from the company she was supposed to work for.
Jenkins’ passport served as her photo identification, so she can’t use travel to major cities. Without access to a U.S. Embassy, she’s found it hard to get any information about how she can make it home.
“It’s just like a circle of trying to figure it out, and not being able to figure it."
Despite only having her laptop as a means of communication with home, Jenkins has spoken with her family since becoming stranded in China.
Jenkins sent this message to her grandparents and family in Mabank:
“Ganny and Papaw I love you, I hope you’re doing well and I’ll be there to take care of you soon. Somehow, I’ll get there.
“I just want to get home.”