Man’s Reunion with Family in US Likely to Come True After 34 Years

DUBAI - This kind of lost-and-found story could only happen in a Bollywood movie. Thousands of miles away in the United States, 34-year-old Nina will be celebrating her birthday today.

By (Afshan Ahmed)

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Published: Mon 3 Aug 2009, 1:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:17 AM

Back here in the UAE, her father Mohammed Omar Disomba is longing for reunion with her and her motherLucille.

Disomba married Lucille in 1974. By a sheer quirk of fate, the couple got separated in 1975 when Disomba had to touch base in Sharjah to work for his Houston-based American Offshore company. And a pregnant Lucille had to carry on with the rigours of life onher own.

Disomba had approached Khaleej Times in 1995 with a plea for help to regain contact with his wife. His persistence and pursuance bore results in December 2008 when one of his colleagues at the Dubai International Airport took the initiative to help run a search for his wife on the Internet.

Following a couple of email exchanges with officials in the United States, letters and photographs of grandchildren came tumbling out of an envelope.

“I spoke to my daughter Nina for the first time in June this year when she called after receiving my letter. I located her through a traffic fine in Texas,” he laughed.

“I said: ‘what, my daughter has not paid a fine; that is shameful. I asked her, and she told me: No daddy, I have paid the fine’. Now we talk everyday for hours, when she calls.”

He regrets not being around when she took her first step; when she graduated and for the birth of her children.

An unfortunate event took Disomba to Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1978 and forced him into a life of bachelorhood, despite being married.

“I was ready to catch a flight and go spend the rest of my life with my wife Lucille and child. But my ship sank and I lost the documents that would allow me to claim family status in America. She (wife) did not want to come to UAE and the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi said I would have to show proof of family in Texas to get a visa,” said Disomba who was then working for the Houston-based American Offshore in Sharjah.

“I used to send $100 each month to my wife but in 1978 the company went bankrupt and I lost all contact with my wife and her family. All the letters I mailed to her, came back to me,” he said, not once taking his eyes off the photographs laid out on a table.

“I had gotten tired and almost given up hope. But one day my friend said ‘let us try finding her on the Internet’,”he said.

Explaining the tedious daily routine of browsing for over five hours at night after work, but motivated by a strong belief, he said, “After a few months I found a site that had a list of unique names in America, and we tried and tried till I finally found Nina listedin Texas.”

Through records available, he verified her date of birth and family history and located the street of her residence.

“I wrote to her telling her I wanted to meet her and gave my contact details,” he said.

The letter went on to read: Take care, please don’t forget to contact me. Your father: Mohammed Omar Disomba.

Nina Disomba clearly remembers the moment she found the letter inthe mail.

“Oh, what a lucky day June 22 was. I looked at the letter and noticed the paper was different from the normal post. I was so amazed when I saw the address. All I knew about him was that he hailed from Tanzania,” she said in a telephone conversation from Texas.

Nina found it hard growing up without a father to protect her. “I would see my friends with their fathers. I could never experience the joys they did. I had never gotten the chance to meet him and that saddened me,” she said.

Disomba said he can no longer bear the distance from his family and has applied for a visa to the United States. The documents have been sent to the US Embassy and he is anxiously looking forward to the moment when he would get to hug his wife, daughter and her family.

“Somewhere in my heart, I knew they were out there waiting for me. That’s why Lucille never remarried, neither did I. I never learnt how to drive in the UAE for fear that if I got a black mark on my record, I would not be allowed in the United States. They are strictthat way...!”

On August 5, Disomba and Lucille will celebrate their 35th anniversary.

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