Joseph Fernando (pictured) has been fishing every day since he returned to Sri Lanka 17 days ago, a failed asylum-seeker. His total income since his ignominious homecoming is about $120, reports The Australian.
His decision to return to Sri Lanka - after hawking the family gold and borrowing steeply from money lenders to pay his passage - was driven by the news on arrival that Australian laws had changed.
Unlike the many who went before him, Fernando discovered only after reaching Australia that he could not earn money while his appeal for asylum was considered. Instead he would be sent to Nauru.
Faced with two stark choices, Fernando abandoned his thin asylum claim rather than leave his family with no support while he awaited adjudication on a Micronesian island best known for pigeon stool.
He has four sons and is adamant none of them will be subsistence fishermen.
Now he and most of the 45 fellow Sri Lankans who have chosen to leave Australia or Nauru since the new policy on August 13 - the vast majority Sinhalese Catholics - are relying on the $3300 Australian government sweetener to help lift them out of the emergency poverty to which many have returned.
FULL STORY Hardships after a long trip home (Australian)