Dubai: While UAE residents enjoy the Eid Al Fitr break, some people will be working through the five-day holidays to carry out their professional responsibilities with due diligence.
Nigerian expat Onyekachukwu Nwaobi, 35, is at his post as a security guard at a residential building in Al Barsha, Dubai. He told Gulf News: “I really have no special plan for Eid Al Fitr. Because of the nature of my job, I have to be on duty. Everyone knows that as a security guard, you don’t have time for yourself. You go home to take rest then again prepare for the next day’s duty.”
‘I’ll be extra cheerful for Eid’
He added: “But Eid is always a special occasion and celebration time. Even though I’m not a Muslim, I know the importance of the religious holiday that reinforces family and community ties, and I join in the joyful festive spirit in my own special way. While at work, I will be extra cheerful in greeting building residents and visitors ‘Eid Mubarak’. My number one priority is to ensure that residents are secure and a little smile and greeting will definitely bring joy to a lot of people. My message is: Everyone should always live in love, maintain peace and unity, share and be nice and always hope for a better tomorrow.”
‘Eid is our busiest time’
Sharjah-based Pakistani expatriate Khalid Hussein is making residents look their best for Eid. The 32-year-old works as a barber at Tareeq Al Mamzar salon in Al Taawun area. “Eid is our busiest time of the year. We work all through the night till the morning of the first day of Eid. After a break for the rest of the first day of Eid, we’re back at work for the rest of the Eid holidays. Our timings are 8am to 12am, midnight,” said Hussein, who is from Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Hussein added: “Naturally, you want to look good for Eid. It’s not just haircuts, but customers want facials, highlights, etc. They keep us busy for Eid and we love to catch up with old customers and make new friends as well. I love speaking to my customers while they’re on the chair.”
‘I always work on Eid’
Another Sharjah resident, Ashraf Beetyban, will be manning the check-out counter at a hypermarket. The last time he celebrated Eid Al Fitr with his parents in India was in 2017. The 28-year-old cashier at the hypermarket in Safari Mall, Sharjah, used to work as an accountant back then.
“After that, I worked in Qatar for about a year and then came over here. I have been doing the same job after I left home and it has become a regular affair to work during Eid since then,” Beetyban said. Since his shift began only in the afternoon, he could go to the mosque and make calls to his parents, relatives and friends to wish them Eid Mubarak. “I miss visiting my friends here in the evening. But it is okay.”
Beetyban said he was proud and happy to offer “frontline service” during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when people had to stay home and shopping centres were essential services. His supplication for this Eid, just like any other day during the pandemic, is for the safety of his parents. “I am more concerned now because of the surge in cases back home,” he said.
‘I’m happy to help people’
Rising early on Eid morning, Muhammed Sulaiman attended the congregational Eid prayer and sermon. Then he headed straight to work. Sulaiman, 34, is one of the many community helpers in the UAE. For the past seven years or so, he has driven public buses operated by the public transport provider, the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s Integrated Transport Centre.
“I realise my work is an essential service even on Eid day. There are many in the city who cannot afford other forms of transport and I am happy to help them get to their destinations on this happy day. There is always a palpable community spirit on Eid,” Sulaiman told Gulf News.
The Pakistani driver has worked over many Eids in Abu Dhabi and said that he still manages to celebrate the occasion. “I finish my shift in the afternoon, then I head back to my accommodation for a festive lunch prepared by my colleagues who have the morning off. Later, I connect with my family over a video call. I always look forward to seeing my three children, wife and parents,” Sulaiman added.
Later, at night, Sulaiman may even go out for a quick meal with friends. “Prior to COVID-19, we would venture further and spend some time outside, but now we prefer to stay careful and close to home. In all, I am happy to work a few hours even on Eid day because it really serves the community.”
‘I’m there for patients’
Eid may be a public holiday, but illness can creep up at any time. Knowing this, Dr Mohammad Muthiulla is at his office on Eid day. “Disease does not wait for an opportunity and being here for patients is part of my duty as a doctor. Over the Eid break, I will continue to see patients, some of whom may fall suddenly ill while others may hope to use the break to see a doctor. And even on the day I am off, I will continue to be on call,” the consultant cardiologist at Medeor Hospital Dubai told Gulf News.
Having attended Eid prayers in the morning, Dr Muthiullah will catch up on the celebrations at home once his duty hours are over. “My teenage son and wife are patiently waiting for me and we often head out for dinner on Eid,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that the dedicated doctor, who has been working in the UAE for more than a decade, has seen patients over Eid. “Wellness comes first, and it is part of my role as a health-care professional to serve those who need treatment and medical advice — even on a public holiday and on special occasions.”