Abu Dhabi The Iraqi mechanical engineer who slept on Abu Dhabi's streets for a month says he is dreaming of a new life with a new job.
"I can easily overcome my physical problems [he says he is mentally fine except sleep disturbances] if I get a job with a regular salary," Ayad A Zaki, 50, told Gulf News Wednesday.
As Gulf News reported on Tuesday Zaki has a dispute regarding salary dues with his company, which is reportedly in financial trouble. He is diabetic and reportedly was also mentally disturbed.
Following the Gulf News report, some readers offered to help him and he expects this may change his life.
He moved to company accommodation to Mussafah on Monday.
The company Zaki worked for said he had stopped working a year ago but they were giving special consideration to him by paying a portion of his salary regularly. Zaki said the company pays him Dh3,000 between every one and two months.
"I immediately send Dh2,000 to my son who is doing final year engineering abroad and the rest is not enough for my food expenses," he said.
The company and Zaki are in dispute about his end-of-service benefits and the cancellation of his residence visa which has already expired.
"I am confident to work if I get an offer," he said Wednesday.
His colleagues said his confidence was not misplaced: "He was the best mechanical engineer in the company, and the best person too. If you enquire about his work and personality everybody will say good things only," said a colleague who did not wish to be named.
He said Zaki's reported mental disturbance was a minor problem which could be easily cured if proper care was provided. "He does not take food and medicine properly; and takes a lot of junk food and soft drinks. He is missing the care of his family," the colleague said.
Zaki is also a victim of the situation in post-war Iraq. His family confirmed what Zaki had told Gulf News — that it was not safe for him to go to Baghdad.
"Even I have not gone back home during the past six years, being afraid of abduction and other crimes," Zaki's son who is studying in a south east Asian nation, told Gulf News over the phone yesterday.
Zaki's wife said the same from Baghdad but said she was ready to come to the UAE to take care of Zaki if there is any way they get any support. A prominent company which came forward to help Zaki following the Gulf News report said it would look into the possibility of offering him a job.