NAT 200505 Jeff WEB-1588682217678
Jeff Yusuf, 26, from Chad, Africa Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A 26-year-old African visitor is hoping to reclaim his destiny after Dubai residents restored his faith in humanity when the spread of coronavirus shattered his dreams and left him stranded.

Jeff Yusuf, 26, from Chad in Africa, told Gulf News on Tuesday that he came to Dubai on March 6, carrying with him the blessings of his widowed mother and a degree in business management and communication, in the hope of landing the job of his dreams. But he could make little headway with the job hunt, thanks to the global outbreak of coronavirus.

NAT 200505 Jeff-1588682214388
Yusuf hopes to find a job during the holy month

Not just that, he said he had nowhere to go after 10 days in the city as he could no longer stay with a friend who was putting him up. “Over the next few days, I really had to rough it out. To make matters worse, I lost my phone and a sum of Dh70, which is all that was left of the money I had brought along,” said Yusuf.

However, just when things seemed they could not get worse, Yusuf found himself at the doorstep of a restaurant in Deira where the security guard allowed him to use his phone to look for job opportunities. That was also when he learnt about some social workers who could help those in need like him. So he decided to call their emergency number.

‘Big boys are not supposed to cry but ...’

Yusuf said he least expected the response he received.

“Shortly after my call, a social worker from Valley of Love came to meet me with a hot meal. The gesture was so simple and spontaneous, and the food so sumptuous, that I actually cried. Big boys are not supposed to cry, but I could not help myself,” said Yusuf, who can speak fluently in English, French and Arabic and claims he has worked as a waiter supervisor in a five-star hotel back home.

Social workers from the Valley of Love and Santhwanam with which it works have been taking care of Yusuf, providing him not just with hot meals but also a temporary place to stay in Hor Al Anz.

Garth Mitchell, volunteer at Valley of Love, said, “Yusuf came on a visit visa, arranged by his mother after considerable savings and borrowings. He came all excited, quite unaware of the coronavirus impact. When one of our volunteers arranged an accommodation on a temporary basis for him and asked him what else he needs, he wanted the Holy Quran and a prayer mat.”

Yusuf said, “I am thankful to Allah. People in Dubai have a very big heart. They have been giving me so much to eat that even someone like me can now share food. With the help I have received, I feel very hopeful. In this holy month, I just pray I can get the job I came looking for. I want to earn enough to repay and take care of my mother who has worked very hard to raise me and my two sisters. She is banking on me and I don’t want to let her down. ”

Mitchell said, “Our resources are extremely limited, so we earnestly hope Jeff keeps his dignity. All he wants is a job, so that he can stand on his own feet and support his mom and family at home. He is young and enthusiastic.”

Abu Varghese, volunteer with Santhwanam, said, “Yusuf came here with high expectations but unfortunately went through a challenging time. With a little support, I am sure he can do wonders as he is positive and capable.”

Like Yusuf, the volunteers too hope someone, somewhere is listening.