The last Water for Workers before Ramadan was a hot and sweaty success with nearly 200 bottles of water and the same amount of Thank You’s given out all over Dubai.
Check out a bit of participant feedback and a few moments captured with a photo machine.
A Simple Thank You
Having little to no interaction with workers normally, it was nice to have a dialogue with them – even if it was just a simple ‘thank you’. Although most of the workers’ English was limited, they certainly understood those two words, and when they said it back to us after receiving a cold water bottle, you could really feel their gratitude. I particularly loved the group we ran into that called all of their work-mates over to alert them to the cold water – they came from all directions and soon enough we’d given out over 30 bottles, well-worth the stop!
- Simona S .
I find that when you have been in Dubai for a long time you change a little, and especially in the way you treat or view others. And if you don’t change this drastically, you may start to turn a blind eye to others in doing so. There is so much segregation and so many inequalities between cultures and classes and although it’s something a lot of us do not encounter much in our home countries, you gradually (and sadly) over time get used to it. The biggest shock for me when I first arrived was the large amount of “workers”: the men who water the gardens, who wash the windows and the cars, who build the roads and the skyscrapers and who keep Dubai clean. It is ironic then that this hard-working community give up the most but are probably treated the worst. I have to admit that this is something I have become used to and have, up until recently, blurred them into the background and lost the shock of injustice.
Thankfully, I have some rather extraordinary friends who invited me to take part in the Water for Workers project. For 2 hours we drove around Dubai, ignoring familiar landmarks to seek out the often ignored construction sites, so we could hand out bottles of water to the men working in the summer heat with the words THANK YOU. By giving one bottle to one individual, I was able to acknowledge this person in front of me and I couldn’t help but contemplate him. Was he a father, a son, a brother? Did he have a family back home relying on his financial support, missing his presence and hoping for his safe-keeping and his happiness? I realised that I hope the same for my father when he works for months at a time overseas, away from my mother and my sisters, the difference is that I know he gets the human rights he deserves…why is it any different for these men? Why are they perceived as deserving less than my father?
The Sameness Project ask the same questions and through them I not only gained some much-needed perspective I regained my awareness, which I believe is such a powerful and important tool for change. Giving water to workers was the most rewarding way I could’ve spent my Saturday morning, and although we could not accommodate for the whole, I am happy for and gained so much from the moments where I was able to say hello and thank-you to just one.
Looking forward to the next x
- Emily E .