A woman from Finland stranded on Guam during the pandemic has left the island, announced the Guam Visitors Bureau on 9 April 2021.
Jenna Mäki-Patola had been working in the Philippines since 2017. She temporarily traveled to Guam for work, but when the Philippines announced only citizens of the country with a valid work visa could return, she found herself stranded here. In March 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duerte closed the country’s borders to protect against the coronavirus pandemic.
Mäki-Patola was left on Guam, with a three-month work visa that later expired. She hoped to return home to Finland, which could’ve accepted her, but Guam limited international travel after the first cases of the coronavirus hit.
Mäki-Patola told Iltalehti, a newspaper published in Helsinki “I felt so small when I was there on the island. The experience of smallness was enhanced by the silence of the island,”
Since 2017, Mäki-Patola worked as a model, office manager and real estate agent in the Philippines. She promoted hair care products and the 5G network and also served as a wedding dress model for Marriott Hotel.
She traveled to Guam to inspect the area because a company she worked for wanted to expand.
Former Gov. Carl Gutierrez got her to stay in a hotel for free while she waited for a flight to leave.
Mäki-Patola told Iltalehti “Coral reefs surround Guam, so the waves don’t hit the beach hard, let alone loudly. The water is turquoise, the beaches are covered with white sand.”
Four months after her stay on Guam, the embassy got Mäki-Patola a return flight to Finland through Japan. Mäki-Patola now works in the Canary Islands for a headphone company.
She plans to return to the Philippines, with the intention to live in the U.S., where she aspires to work in entertainment. She still has plans to work in Finland before leaving her home country. With all these aspirations, she’ll always remember the unintended extended stay of a lifetime.
“A big piece of my heart was left for Guam,” Mäki-Patola told Iltalehti.
Source: Guam DPN