24-year-old L.A. student stuck in Chinese village for nearly 3 months amid pandemic may soon come home


Samson Adame, a 24-year-old American who has been stuck in China for more than two and a half months, is one step closer to coming home.

Adame traveled to Beijing to study language as part of a Cal State University Northridge scholarship program. He was visiting a village in Shandong Province when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The village went into lockdown and he had to stay with a host family.

“When the lockdown happened not even a family member a few doors down could go in the house,” he said.

Now, the lockdown in the village has been lifted.

“They had this street fair a few days ago… You saw people celebrating. You wouldn’t even know a virus was spreading out there,” he said.

Adame still can’t leave the village, however, since there are no trains, buses or cars going outbound yet.

Back in L.A., his mother Nancy Krank says she has been worried sick.

“I’m excited that everyday brings him closer but it’s a long trip back,” she said. “Now, I’m worried that a ton of people are going to be cramming on the buses and trains to go back to Beijing.”

Wuhan, China’s epicenter for the virus, is a few hundred miles south, where businesses and public transportation are in the process of slowly picking back up. Outbound travel resumed on Wednesday.

Adame says he is anxious to return home, although the U.S. is bracing for its own surge in cases.

“I’ve got my son that I worry about in China. I’ve got a 91-year-old mother here,” his mother said. “It’s stressful.”

But Krank is relieved her son made it through the lockdown and is healthy and will reunite with them soon.

“I’m happy things are going back to normal here. I wish it could get better in the U.S.,” Adame said. “The virus isn’t some evil cloud that sneaks into your home from outside. It comes in the form of people. So stay away from people. Stay inside.”

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