Naushad Raynkarveedu has been sweeping the streets of Dubai for 17 years, making sure the city’s roads and sidewalks are litter-free, even while fasting in Ramadan.
He is among hundreds of Dubai Municipality sweepers who ensure Dubai streets are spotless despite the harsh weather conditions they work under.
“It is difficult but I am used to the routine, it has been so many years now. During Ramadan, we work reduced hours and our shifts start either very early in the day when the sun is not so strong or in the later part of the day when the sun is beginning to go down, so this makes things a bit easier,” said the 43-year-old from Kerala, India.
In non-Ramadan months, Raynkarveedu works afternoon shifts from 2pm to 9pm and in Ramadan the shift is reduced to five hours, beginning at 5pm and ending at 10pm, with a short iftar break in between.
“Our management is really kind and they take into consideration the difficulty of our job, particularly during this month. We have been asked to go easy and our supervisors advise us to take short breaks to make sure we are not exhausted,” he added.
Dubai Municipality offers all its labourers free iftar meals at their accommodation, but Raynkarveedu is on duty during the time of iftar and he ends his fast at an iftar tent in the area he works.
“Working on the streets I have made many friends, people are kind, they always offer food and drinks. But, I mostly end my fast at an iftar tent near the mosque in the area I work,” said Raynkarveedu, who has been working in the area of Port Saeed, outside Deira City Centre for 12 years.
When he returns home after work, his packet of iftar meal provided by municipality, including biryani, fruits and juices, is waiting for him in his room, which he uses as his suhoor meal.