Zayed’s gesture drew him to UAE

UMM AL QUWAIN — When Qasim Ahmed Faramawi left his home town Al Qalyobia in Egypt, a governorate north of the capital Cairo, in October 1976, he was 25 years old. Coming to UAE on visit visa, he had never planned to stay here for long, but 31 years have elapsed and he is still there.

By Mohsen Rashid (BEHIND THE SCENES)

Published: Sat 14 Jul 2007, 9:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:09 AM

Qasim AhmedQasim Ahmed Faramawi is working in the Water Division of UAQ Municipality.

After graduation in 1971, he had joined the armed forces to do one year mandatory military service. Since Egypt was involved in a war of attrition with Israel in those days, his compulsory military service was extended to four years in preparation for the October 1973 war.

“I had the honour to take part in that war,” Qasim says happily.

“I had never thought of travelling to the Gulf, in general, and the United Arab Emirates, in particular,” he recalls. “But the late Shaikh Zayed’s reaction to the war impressed many in Egypt. He had ceased to pump oil by because he felt that Arab blood was more precious than oil. I was one of those who were moved by Shaikh Zayed’s gesture. Thus developed in me a strong desire to work in the UAE.”

“My military service concluded in January 1976. With no job back home, I was exploring opportunities. It was then that I met a Palestinian, Marawan Mohammad Abu Shab’an. He was working in an import-export office. When Marawan came to know that I wanted to travel to the UAE, he asked me for my passport. The next day I had a UAE visit visa,” Qasim adds.

Qasim bought Gulf Air one-way ticket to Dubai for 50 Egyptian pounds. “When I arrived, there was no one to receive me at the airport. I took a taxi to Ajman and was welcomed by my friend Marawan,” he recalls. “I didn’t have to waste time looking for a job. A day after my arrival here, I got the job of foreman in a contracting company in Ajman. I spent a month and half in this company until I was given the task of constructing a building for the UAQ branch of Women’s Association. I headed for Umm Al Quwain to supervise the project,” he says.

“In my dealings with UAQ Municipality during the construction project, I came to know of an opening in the Water Division of the municipality. I applied and got the job in December 1976. Since then I am working in Umm Al Quwain,” he points out.

“I have made some friends and acquaintances here. I feel as if I am in Egypt with my people. I took part in social and sporting activities and voluntary works at the Arab Club and the Egyptian Club, both in the UAQ,” he says contentedly.

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