FROM Bangladesh to Delhi to Griffith, Gosford, Taree and eventually Forster, the Sarker family are celebrating settling into their new home as citizens of Australia.
Dr Sudipta Sarker, wife Lipika, father Chitta and six-and-a-half year old daughter Debasmita settled in Forster two years ago, buying a house last year when they thought ‘this is it.’
“I was initially recruited in 2007 for a job at Griffith Hospital,” Dr Sarker said.
“I stayed there for one year, then went to Gosford.”
During the five years in Gosford the Sarker family visited the Great Lakes several times and embraced the opportunity to move north to the Manning when a job which didn’t require permanent residency at Manning Hospital came up.
“It’s really very beautiful up here,” he said.
“We were all speechless. All four of us. It was such a beautiful colourful ceremony and a great opportunity to mingle with society.”
Having specialised in Emergency Medicine in Delhi, Dr Sarker put his skills to use, at one stage working seven days a week when he took on weekend work at the Forster Tuncurry Medical Centre in addition to his hospital job.
“It was pretty full on but I enjoyed it,” Dr Sarker said.
“There are always plenty of emergencies on weekends – fish hooks in feet, chest pains, that kind of thing.”
The family relocated to Forster when Dr Sarker became a full-time GP for the centre two years ago, a role he had always hoped to do. He hasn’t looked back.
“We applied for our permanent residency two years ago... then there’s often a little delay in going for citizenship. People get lazy and I’m sorry to say I was no exception,” he confessed.
The family’s application was approved three months ago and then it was just a matter of waiting for a date for the citizenship ceremony, which took place locally on Australia Day.
“We were all speechless. All four of us. It was such a beautiful colourful ceremony and a great opportunity to mingle with society,” he said, grateful to Great Lakes Council for making the effort of framing each certificate and for taking the time to individually ‘naturalise’ each candidate rather than do it en masse.
“We had a real sense of value and were treated with respect. For me, I will try to be useful for society. Medicine is an opportunity to serve people in need – and there are a lot of them. When I go to bed at night, I usually feel very content.”
Meanwhile, Lipika is busy volunteering at Forster Public School and attending lessons from TAFE. Delighted with her flag and full of the memory of facing a ‘large, large’ audience on Australia Day, young Debasmita has begun second grade. And Dr Sarker’s sprightly father Chitta has become a citizen for Australia at the age of 76, an experience beyond his globe-trotting past which featured him as a former airline steward for Bangladesh Airlines.