The gloom of an underground car park is no match for Adil Mohamed’s smile.
The former Sudanese electrician may be unable to ply his trade in Australia, but his grin has been lighting up the Village Centre car park in Batemans Bay for months.
It will only get wider if money, time and opportunity combine for him to improve his English and requalify in Australia as a “sparkie”.
In the meantime, Adil is delighted to have work to support his wife and children, even if it means travelling every week from south-west Sydney.
Travelling has been Adil’s necessary friend since he fled north-west Sudan and its fundamentalist government 12 years ago for Egypt.
“The government in Sudan did not give any opportunity,” Adil said.
Nepotism was rife and jobs went only to “the people who worked with them or belonged to the government”.
“My wife was a teacher and had the same problem with the government,” he said.
Fearing his family had no future, he made a momentous decision.
“I hated this government, so I went to Egypt,” he said. “I really tried hard, I worked hard in Egypt.”
After four years, his family joined him and they approached Australian migration authorities.
“I gave them all the documentation and after four months I came to Australia,” he said.
That was eight years ago and, at first, the language barrier was tough.
“If you don’t speak English very well, you can’t find a job,” he said.
Language classes at TAFE helped.
“Now I can communicate with other people,” he said.
But in February, with everyone feeling the economic downturn and jobs scarce in Sydney, he headed south.
“I miss my wife and kids, but I have to work and I have to get money,” he said.
“I have to sacrifice.”
He loves his adopted country.
“It is really better than Sudan,” he said.
“Australia is a good country. They help all the people. There is no discrimination. People are peaceful.
“If you compare this life with other counties, Australia is the best country in the world.
“If you need to do anything in Australia, you can, because of the freedom here.”
He’s grateful to those who have reached out to him.
“I find help from many people here in Batemans Bay,” he said.
A fellow worker in the Village Centre “has helped me all the time and given me magazines”.
Adil still hopes to requalify in his former trade.
“I hope to find opportunities to do my job as an electrician, but I need four years at TAFE,” he said.
After attending TAFE, Adil’s wife gained entry to Sydney University and hopes to gain work in children’s services.
However, after a 12-year separation, Adil longs to see his mother before she dies.
“I miss my mother, she is in Sudan and getting old,” he said.