For Mariam Hashem, the day starts at 3am and ends late at night, with so little sleep in between.
Short working hours and time spent with families and friends is what makes Ramadan a people’s favourite.
But for Mariam Hashem, the day starts at 3am and ends late at night, with so little sleep in between. Working as a cleaner at a gym in Sharjah, the 31-year-old Bangladeshi leaves her Dubai accommodation to take the 4.20am bus to commence her work at 5.30am.
Finishing work and heading back home at 5.30pm, she prep-ares a quick Iftar with her roommates before rushing to spend the rest of her night praying Taraweeh at the mosque.
“We usually have chickpeas, rice, vegetables, fruits and juices,” said Hashem, who’s been in UAE for the last three years.
“I sleep around 11.30pm, but sometimes, problems with my family back home keep me up till after midnight. I wake up again at 3am for Suhoor and start my day,” said Hashem, a mother of two girls aged 6 and 11, who reside in Bangladesh.
Hashem said she tries to sneak in 30 minutes of sleep in between, as she reaches work. “In Ramadan, customers start coming to the gym around 9am. If there’s no work, I try to snooze for 30 minutes in the morning before people start coming,” she said. Her job revolves around keeping the gym and sports equipment clean, and supplying the vending machine with coffee and clean mugs.
Although Ramadan can be exhau-sting, Hashem said she uses the holy month to be grateful for everything. “I thank God for my job, family and good health,” said Hashem.
She hasn’t seen her daughters since she moved to the UAE, so Hashem said she looks forward to going hom enext year. “My daughters used to stay with my mother, but now they reside with my sister as my mother is too old to take care of them.” She’s in touch with the family on a daily basis, dividing her monthly Dh800 salary between herself and them. “I keep Dh400 for myself and send the rest back home,” she said.
Hashem also takes up part-time jobs on the side, to fulfill her family’s expenses.
“One of my daughters had an accident when she was four and burned her body.
She needs a surgery in the next two years, and that?s why I take on extra jobs to try to save up.”
While the lack of money made it difficult for her to travel and see them for the last three years, Hashem said she looks forward to spending time with them again. “I’ll go to Bangladesh next year, and I’m very excited about that,” she said.
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