Sunday, September 05, 2004

THE STORY OF DAVID NGOOR

David Thiong Ngoor, 28, was born in Wernyol in the Twich County in Southern Sudan. The story of his life and times in Australia is a story of hope for the future and a new beginning for a young man on a mission not only to change his life, but also to work for a better world.

As a student in the “Comboni Parents Secondary School” in the Dinka-Bor country, David witnessed the worsening crisis in his homeland, first hand, and the disastrous effects of the war on his people. The wounds of that terrible carnage are still fresh in his memory.

He lost everything of value to him during the war; including his dear mother, father, brothers and sisters. Now, he is all alone, an orphan in a highly competitive and unforgiving world, and the one and only survivor in a family of seven. He was in the Kiriyandongo refugee camp in Uganda before coming to Australia four months ago as a refugee. This is a new milestone for David.

Meanwhile, David’s eyes have seen a speck of light at the end of a very long tunnel, a sure sign of hope. At least, he can now afford to smile, from ear to ear, because Australia has given him a measure of peace and security - a good reason to live; thereby restoring his faith in humanity.

David is, no doubt, trying to make sense of the new environment. “Everything is new …and there is no war here”, he says as he reflects on his experience in Australia, so far. “I have learnt a lot already, and have made some new friends. ..Above all, I’m enjoying my studies”, not to talk of the new sense of freedom. But there are new challenges ahead.

Finding a part-time job has proved too difficult for David. He definitely wants to work, not just to keep the body and soul together, but so that he could put enough money aside to help others who are still languishing in the refugee camps. But who will employ him? I still think he needs a great deal of help in this direction.

If you can help, then, please drop me a line!

During our meeting, David talked at length about the generosity of Australians; focusing, appreciatively, on the efforts of those organizations (and individuals) who have helped him in the recent past and are still helping him now. “The Salvation Army, for one, gave me some winter clothes”, he said. And, more importantly, the “Australian Refugee Association (ARA) helped with some furniture: chairs, tables, and, of course, some nice cooking utensils”. Furthermore, the “ARA even helped to pay my fees…In fact, they have sent me to the TAFE college to learn English…I’m delighted”, to say the least.

David is of the Dinka-Bor extraction, a proud son of the soil. And a man of many tongues: he is literate in many languages; including Arabic which he speaks fluently. Now, for reasons of survival, he has decided to learn English not as a second language, but most probably as a third or fourth language. He’ll use the time spent on the language course to stop, pause, and reflect on his career options.

Thus, after the trauma of war and devastation in his country of origin, David’s luck is gradually changing. Like the vast majority of African-Australian youths, David sees education as the way out of poverty. He wants to work hard, settle down, and in a few years time, go to the university to study international relations and the law.

Good luck David! And may all your dreams come true!!

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