On a fishing boat off the coast of Massachusetts in the early 1960s an American boy first began to hear the call of a distant land echoing across an ocean and down through generations. David MacIsaac recalls fishing with his uncles and brothers, all lobstermen, and hearing stories ofScotland and the Hebrides, the land of his ancestors. “They would point in an east-north-east direction and say: ‘If you follow that direction in a straight line, you will reach Scotland’, and I knew in my heart that I would go there one day.”
That day came 10 years ago when MacIsaac – now a teacher – at last visited Scotland and discovered on his travels that the country was crying out for teachers and headteachers in its rural communities. Within two years he had been given leave to come to Scotland to teach and is now the head and single teacher of Ae primary school, a 17-pupil facility just outside Dumfries, a post he has held for more than five years.
He felt he was fulfilling his destiny until one day last month when a letter from the Home Office arrived, informing him that he was no longer welcome in the land of his forefathers and that his application to remain in the UK indefinitely had been refused.