Eid Al Adha: Meet the unsung heroes who ensure seamless Eid celebrations in the UAE


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Dubai: While most UAE residents are enjoying their days off, making the most of the Eid Al Adha festivities, there are some people for whom it is business as usual. They have had to give up their Eid holidays so that others could have a seamless celebration.

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Gulf News spoke to some of these unsung heroes from a cross-section of the society in UAE.

Food delivery during Eid

As Mohammad Arshad, 33, makes his way to his clients, delivering delicious food for Eid, he takes a quick break to have a simple home-made sandwich and some water for lunch, seated on his motorbike. During Eid, Arshad from Faisalabad, Pakistan, has been putting in more than 12 hours every day as he works for two leading online food delivery services. “We are paid a Dh6-per-hour fixed salary and Dh3 for every food delivery. If I put in these many hours only then will I make decent money. The last few months have seen lesser orders, so I have to make up for those slack days,” said Arshad, who has to support his family back home. He is yet to receive his salary for the previous month. “I was not able to send anything to my parents and sibling for Eid,” said Arshad, who is a bachelor. He had come to Dubai at the age of 21 and has put in 12 years as a food delivery boy.


“I would be lying if I say that I don’t feel bad about working during Eid. Back home in Faisalabad, we would sacrifice a goat and my mother would make delicious biryani and sheer korma and the entire family would have lunch together. I think of those happy times, but I have no choice, as I have to make ends meet. I feel happy to meet my customers and see their eyes light up when I deliver good food. At least they are having a good time with their families,” said Arshad.

Patient’s come first

Dr Tarik Al Janabi, consultant, Emergency Medicine, at King’s College Hospital, Dubai, is on Eid duty and will get just a day off in between. “My job is to back up the regular duty doctors. I start my day at 8am. Usually, duty ends at 5pm, but if there is work, we continue as for us, patients always come first.”

Dr Tariq Al Janabi

Dr Janabi said during Eid, people usually walk into the Emergency with gastro-intestinal complaints, and injuries. “People tend to overeat and often come down with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea during Eid. In addition, there are case of injuries. This year, we may see lesser instances of injuries with restrictions on gatherings. But we are prepared for all kinds of emergencies,” said Dr Al Janabi who had plans to meet his parents on Saturday — his day off — before resuming work on Sunday.

Giving clients a festive look

Pearly Paradero, 34, a beautician with a salon in Karama for the last four years, will be working all through the Eid holidays. “The last few months were very slack. We have had our share of holidays and now we have to put in those hours of work as business has picked up a bit. We cannot miss this chance during Eid as clients have made appointments in advance. We are already busy and anticipate good business during Eid. Normally, every year, we would all get a day off by rotation during Eid. But this year we have no leave. I do not mind this as it is good to be busy. We are thankful that business is picking up and we want our clients to look beautiful for Eid,” said Paradero who hails from Cavite City, Philippines.


Emergency response

Jeffrey Taruc, an emergency response (ER) nurse and ambulance paramedic at the Canadian Hospital, is on duty all through Eid. “I will get my weekly off on Friday, but will be back to work after that. As an ER nurse and ambulance paramedic, my duty hours involve answering emergency calls and accompanying patients in the ambulance. At other times, I would be at the Emergency Department, assisting the doctors. It is a hectic time for us. I do not mind working during Eid as I love my job and I’m happy to be busy,” said Taruc who lives with his brother in Dubai.

Fuelling up vehicles

Diosdado Barraza, 28, will be working at the Enoc petrol station in Jumeirah during Eid. “Except my weekly off on Saturday, I will be working on all the other three days of Eid,” said Barraza, the sixth child in a family of seven siblings from Tacloban, Philippines. Barraza, who works on an eight-hour shift, said he did not give much thought to working during Eid.


“We always do [work on Eid] as people do need fuel to go out, now that movement restrictions have been relaxed. I am happy to be here helping people move. I know my job filling petrol is crucial though it might look like a small job. People would find it difficult to meet their loved ones, if we took off,” said Tacloban who came to the UAE at the age of 24 to be a an attendant at a fuel station.

Women need to give birth, even if its Eid

Marwa Taha Sayed would have loved to be at home with her two children and husband during Eid. However, as an outpatient nurse in the gynaecology department of Medcare Hospital, she will be working on the first two days of the holiday.

“I will be fasting on the first day and have a weekly off on Saturday. So I look forward to spending Saturday and Sunday with my family. On the first two days of Eid holidays, I will put in ten hours of work. These are busy times for the health-care sector. In any case, the Gynnaecology Department is busy around the clock and there is no way we can go slack as a woman may go into labour pain anytime. I am fully aware of my responsibilities. It’s my duty to attend to patients and I derive the greatest satisfaction from being a nurse. My husband and children understand that,” said Sayed who hails from Egypt.


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