Ramadan 2021

Ramadan in UAE: This Ambulance driver can’t recollect an iftar with family

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 24, 2021 | Last updated on April 25, 2021 at 12.28 am
Supplied photo

For this frontliner, work is worship and Ramadan a month for greater devotion, where he has broken fast while inside the ambulance.

For Ummer Cherumiyathe, an ambulance driver, Ramadan is a month of service, dedication and prayer, and he can't recollect an iftar spent with family in a long time.

"I have been an ambulance driver since 2014. My family is back in Thrissur district of Kerala. I have a wife and three kids aged one, five and 19 years old. I had got them here once before the pandemic. In the last two decades, I have served in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other sectors and not just healthcare. And most of my Ramadan has always been away from the family. So, I don't have many memories of iftar with my family. Here my colleagues are my family. At times, we also cook at our accommodation. We try to make some special dishes in our own way," said Ummer, who serves LLH Hospital in Abu Dhabi City.

For this frontliner, work is worship and Ramadan a month for greater devotion, where he has broken fast while inside the ambulance.

"For me, my service is the most important thing. During this Ramadan, I am on 2 pm to 8 pm shift. This means that my iftar is at my workplace. I have broken fast while I am in the middle of the road. If there is no patient, I will just pull over to the side of the road. I pray while sitting on my seat and eat dates and drink water, both I always carry in my ambulance during this month. And then I continue on the road. It is a simple ritual and nothing much to talk about. However, back at the hospital we get time to pray. Also, we will be provided with a food kit with fruits, dates and juices. There are special food packets for iftar and suhoor. We have company accommodation, and all the facilities are provided,"

Not just ambulance and emergency services, Ummer also transports hospital staff in cars.

"Healthcare is teamwork. In an emergency situation, I may also need to rush a doctor to the hospital. Amid the pandemic, my job included transferring Covid-19 patients to the hospital or taking them to other referred healthcare facilities or field hospitals."

And doing crucial service, he got infected once amid the pandemic.

"Last year, I had tested Covid-19 positive but all this happens. I started taking extra precautions from then. I have never tested positive again. We have to keep fit and focused."

This Ramadan with the frightening situation back home, Ummer prays for an early solution.

"I pray and wish there is an end to the crisis."



Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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These prayer timings are for Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. For Abu Dhabi, add four minutes. Deduct four minutes for Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, and six minutes for Fujairah.

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