Escape from India during COVID-19 (Part 1)

India - Junction-of-the-Sarayu-River-and-Mahakali-River-famous-for-golden-masheer-fishing.--in-Champawat. Photo: Anietra Hamper

What was meant to be a four-week writing assignment to Nepal and India for veteran journalist Anietra Hamper, turned out to be an absolute nightmare for her and her traveling companion, Ian Henderson.

In March 2020, Anietra and Ian set out in search of the goonch–a very rare catfish also know as the giant devil catfish.  Anietra was hired by a prominent fishing magazine to write about the elusive goonch and Ian was her fishing guide.  The goonch is found in the Indian subcontinent so Anietra and Ian were traveling between very remote fishing camps in search of the elusive catfish.

We appeared on the front page of the newspaper in Ramnagar… showing that the government is rounding up the foreigners who they say brought the virus to India.

Instead of catching the goonch, Anietra and Ian found themselves caught between the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s subsequent lock down and law enforcement during their attempts to leave the country.  Their ordeal resembled scenes from the action thriller The Fugitive.

This episode is the first part of a three-part series about Anietra’s harrowing escape from India.

  • Anietra and Ian trying to go 18 miles up the road. — in Champawat. Photo: Anietra Hamper
  • Escorted-to-the-Ramnagar-hospital-to-be-screened-for-COVID-19-after-we-were-turned-away-from-a-hotel-—-in-Champawat. Photo: Anietra Hamper
  • COVER: Junction-of-the-Sarayu-River-and-Mahakali-River-famous-for-golden-masheer-fishing.-—-in-Champawat. Photo: Anietra Hamper
  • Our-photo-on-the-front-page-of-the-newspaper-in-Ramnagar-and-Corbitt-area-showing-that-the-government-is-rounding-up-the-foreigners-who-they-say-brought-the-virus-to-India.-—-in-Champawat. Photo: Anietra Hamper
  • The fishing camp where Anietra found refuge.—-in Champawat. Photo: Anietra Hamper


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