x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Emirati father of four’s long commute in pursuit of employment and success

Salem Mohammed Dahmani spends around 4 hours a day behind the wheel commuting from his home in Fujairah to work at Dubai Customs.

Salem Dahmani at his farm near his home in Al Hinya, Fujairah. The 25-year-old works in Dubai and has done for seven years, commuting back and forth every day while studying at Khalifa University. Jaime Puebla / The National
Salem Dahmani at his farm near his home in Al Hinya, Fujairah. The 25-year-old works in Dubai and has done for seven years, commuting back and forth every day while studying at Khalifa University. Jaime Puebla / The National

FUJAIRAH // Salem Dahmani spends about four hours a day behind the wheel commuting from his home in Fujairah to work at Dubai Customs.

The 25-year-old father of four young children has been juggling family life, work and his studies for a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering for the past few years. It has not been easy for the Khalifa University student, but it has been necessary.

“In Fujairah, there aren’t many jobs so it’s good to get a job in Abu Dhabi with the army or police.

“If you see the army or police in Abu Dhabi, most of the people are from the Northern Emirates. These are the people who really need to work.”

He has maintained his job in Dubai because, he says, work closer to home neither pays as well nor offers the same opportunity for career progression. “We have annual appraisals at Dubai Customs, which gives us opportunities to grow, ” Mr Dahmani said.

“You feel if you work in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Sharjah, that your employer will forget about you and you will stay at the same level, but in Abu Dhabi, you have evaluations and promotion.”

Mr Dahmani is proud to come from the east coast emirate. His family have date plantations and keep camels and are rooted in Emirati culture. He does not want to leave, although he hopes to find a well-paying job closer to home when he graduates in February.

“I don’t want to be far from my family,” he said. “I love being near the family and being part of our traditional way of life, hunting hubara, collecting honey. I haven’t even been to the cinema in about three or four years.”

At the start of his degree, his English teacher told him he would never manage to balance his studies while working and commuting. Two years later, when he got engaged, he was again told he would never stick with it.

But through determination and hard work he has managed. “I have the goal, ” said Mr Dahami.

mswan@thenational.ae