Passengers travelling to Abu Dhabi queue up at the Al Ghubaiba Bus Station in Bur Dubai during the Eid Al Adha holiday yesterday. Image Credit: VIRENDRA SAKLANI/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: While communities across the country are enjoying Eid Al Adha and its festivities, there are many in various fields who are still working, to ensure that the nation doesn't grind to a halt during the holiday season.

"I arrived at work at 7am and ever since have changed the oil for 15 cars. It's not so crowded today… so I may be able to finish my work at around 2.30 or 3pm and join the rest of my friends who are celebrating Eid at the Indonesian Embassy," said Irmawan Wawan, an Indonesian worker at an Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) petrol station. He added that he had reached his workplace right after his Eid Al Adha prayers yesterday.

When asked how he feels about working while others are not, Wawan said: "I'm a little upset that I'm the only one out of all my friends who's working today, but I try to stay optimistic and remember that I will join them after work."

Long hours

Momen Ali, a Pakistani taxi driver, noted that during Eid, there are not many people who require transportation services, compared to regular days.

"I began working at 5am and will continue until 10pm with the hope of getting as many customers as possible. On a normal day, I drop around 60 customers but I don't expect to have more than 30 customers today. However I'm still working long hours, in the hope of making more money," he said.

In Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi public transport buses transported revellers to various destinations around the cities. Commuters packed Dubai Metro during peak hours as they headed from one mall to another.

"From the time I got into the Metro from Karama till I reached my destination of Business Bay station, I hardly had space to move. It was packed and I had no space to even move my hands," said Wilson, a Metro passenger.

Traffic on the roads was thin during morning hours. However, towards evening several arterial roads were clogged with residents heading to various malls, parks and other attractions in Dubai. Sharjah taxi driver Mohammad Aslam said evening is a more busy period and is the right time to get some passengers.

However, there are others like Noor Al Deen, the owner of a photo studio, who are happy to work during Eid. "It's not so bad for me since I work today from 4pm to 10pm. On a normal day I receive 20 customers, but during Eid I receive over 30, which makes me happy since it means more money for my business."

Saeed Abdul Kader, a British expatriate, who is originally from Somalia, explained that while he used to be upset at working during Eid when his three children were young, now that they have grown up, he does not mind working throughout the holiday period.

Increased footfall

"When I first joined Adnoc 30 years ago, we used to all complain about having to work during Eid if we had young children because we wanted to spend time with them in addition to our other obligations… but now it's normal to work during holidays," the senior operator said.

According to Ali Taleb, an Iraqi expatriate who is an Assistant Property Manager at Abu Dhabi Mall, because shopping malls across the city usually see a surge of foot traffic during holidays, senior management have to also be at hand to ensure that everything moves smoothly.

"I work with three other managers and we always arrange our rotas prior to Eid to ensure that there is at least one of us available who can handle anything that may come up, from maintenance to operations," he said. More than 1,500 medical professionals are working in 35 out-patient departments in NMC speciality hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain during the Eid holidays. According to Dr S.N. Manohar, Medical Administrator, working during public holidays such as Eid is part of the hospital's policy.

"As health care professionals we have taken an oath that we should always be ready and prepared to help other people, and that is exactly what we are doing. We are happy to know that we are servicing people who through the proper medical care can enjoy the rest of their holidays," Manohar said.