Dubai: Thousands of unsung heroes work diligently behind the scenes during all UAE holidays, including the long Eid Al Adha break, so that the multitudes can enjoy the festival unhindered.
All essential services — such as hospitals, ambulances, civil defence, hotels, restaurants and petrol stations — operate without a break, run by scores of men and women who go to work so that others can enjoy a respite.
Gulf News focused on these good Samaritans, who give up their family time and give work top priority.
“The hospital has to run 24/7 and be ready for all kinds of disaster management,” said Naeema Mohammad Rajab, acting assistant director for nursing, Rashid Hospital, who has given up the idea of revelling with friends and family this Eid Al Adha, as she has opted to be on call the whole week. “I will be coming to the hospital for the usual rounds and covering all kinds of emergencies this week,” the Emirati nurse, 43, said.
She added: “Rashid Hospital is the biggest trauma care centre and during the holiday season, we have to be prepared for all kinds of road accident and other industrial accident cases. We are ready for all kinds of emergencies and disaster management this Eid.”
Naeema Mohammad Rajab, acting assistant directorNursing, Rashid Hospital, is on call the whole week.
Rajab passed up the opportunity to go to Abu Dhabi with the rest of her family, to enjoy the Eid lunch with extended family members. “I have had plenty of Eid Al Adhas with family. This year, I have chosen to focus on my duty. My family is very supportive of the work I do. I will greet everyone on Eid morning, and try and be at home as much as I can before heading to work, but will equally focus on my duty. I chose to be nurse, I am passionate about my job and will give it a hundred per cent.”
Shanky Bhola, food and beverage manager at Holiday Inn Al Barsha is working through the holiday too. Bhola, 30, an Indian expatriate from New Delhi, will be working a 12-hour shift on at least three days of Eid Al Adha. “During Eid, we have huge footfall at all our restaurants for lunch and dinner. In addition, we have home catering requests and we try to give our Muslim colleagues a break during these days. So, an entire team is up and about serving guests during Eid. My duty demands that I serve my guests during Eid,” said Bhola.
While their usual duty hours are from 9am to 8pm, during Eid, the buzz builds up by noon and continues way beyond midnight. The newly married Bhola’s wife is left alone at home. “She will spend the evening with friends. She understands my job. The festival is the best time to forge a direct rapport with so many of our guests, first timers and many regulars. It makes me really happy to be part of this team and add to the joy and fervour of Eid celebrations,” said Bhola.
Alul Latif Rafeeq, 55, an Indian gift shop owner in Abu Dhabi, said he likes to work during the holiday as well. “I always keep my shop open during holidays like Eid Al Adha; I am happy to serve the people and I’m happy to see customers coming to the shop and enjoying their purchases,” Rafeeq said. “During Eid, we get a lot of people from various cultures and nationalities, because many customers want to buy gifts for the occasion. So I must work even if it’s a holiday. After Eid, I might take a few days off, but it’s not a problem to work during the holidays. I have done this for many years now. Eid is a busy time, so it’s important for shops to keep open for residents.”
Sharon KC, 27, a Nepalese watchman, also serves his fellow residents during the Eid break. He helps tenants in his building stay safe as they welcome friends and family into their homes for festive gatherings. “During the Eid holidays residential buildings are actually busier than normal because a lot of tenants invite their family and friends over. It’s important for the building security and watchman to be present and available,” he said. “An emergency can always arise, a tenant might need help with something, just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean building services are no longer needed, and so I don’t mind being on duty during the holiday. It ensures that people’s Eid celebrations go well. I am also compensated with extra pay, so I don’t really have much to to complain about.”