Turkey rebuffs Russia, France and U.S. over Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire moves    Unemployment marches higher in Europe amid pandemic    Neanderthal genes linked to severe COVID-19; Mosquitoes cannot transmit the coronavirus    Pompeo meets with Vatican after US-China tensions spill over    Lyon sign midfielder Paqueta from Milan on five-year deal    Live score: Masry v Zamalek (Egyptian Premier League)    Premier League asking for changes to football's handball law    Egypt's Sisi arrives in Kuwait to offer condolences over Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad's death    Russia's Navalny accuses Putin of being behind poisoning    Egypt reports 119 new coronavirus cases, 16 deaths on Wednesday    Egypt's Sisi follows up on project to raise pure-bred Egyptian-Arabian horses    Egypt parliament to convene on Thursday for sixth legislative season    Mostafa Rizq gives a concert at El-Sawy Culturewheel    The colours of the tabla    Nile blessings in disguise    Why is Nasser still popular?    The facts about Mostorod    Editorial: Time to rebuild    Egyptian insurance companies' premiums 9.6% up in five months    Egypt's President Sisi names new head of anti-corruption watchdog    Egypt's c.bank offers 18 bln pounds T-bills on Sunday    EgyptAir offering discounts for some international flights    Egypt records 212 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Saturday    Egypt to require PCR coronavirus tests for airport travelers    Egypt sends 125 tonnes of glass by sea to Beirut    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    Global smartphone sales drop 20% in Q2, yet Apple's iPhone sales steady    Sisi: Egypt keen on establishing development projects with Iraq, Jordan    Egyptian megastar Amr Diab releases new hit music video    Making of Harry Potter will be available for fans at new park in Tokyo    Egypt's Senate elections official results to be announced Wednesday    Netflix Egypt is bringing megastar Amr Diab back with a new original    Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing for first time since April    Egypt's senate elections 2020 trending on social media in few days    African Champions League final will be played on Oct. 16-17, CAF says    No room to delay Egyptian Premier League games – EFA's board member    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Iftar on duty
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 07 - 06 - 2018

As this year's Ramadan draws to its end, many people have been reflecting on the spiritual atmosphere of the holy month and particularly on the family gatherings that are traditional features of Ramadan.
All the family typically gathers for Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast, something that can be hard to organise during the rest of the year. Even so, some people miss the family gatherings in Ramadan because they need to be at work.
“Will meet you at the office tomorrow when Iftar will be a piece of chicken, rice and soup,” one passenger on a Cairo microbus was heard explaining to a friend by telephone.
As the call continued, they discussed work matters, arranging to have Iftar together as if this was normal during Ramadan. The man, who worked in a food franchise, is not alone in having his Iftar with colleagues at work rather than with family at home, however.
“I plan my Iftar with my family according to my shifts at work. As a security guard in a private company, I do not have Iftar with my colleagues during my shift, but there is a separate shift for Iftar,” Cairo resident Ayman Shaarawi said smiling.
Although it might be nicer to have Iftar at home with the family, “it is also normal to work, especially as I have had Iftar for four days at work,” he added.
Working conditions and the need to earn a living cause many to sacrifice having Iftar at home with their families and to take it at work instead. Sarah Mohamed, a married woman, joined a Cairo NGO some months ago where she has Iftar.
“Working hours in Ramadan are from 3pm to 9pm, and it is the first time I have routinely had Iftar at work,” she said.
While Mohamed is having a new experience with colleagues at work, Mohamed Abdel-Alim rarely has Iftar at home. Abdel-Alim, 49 and a musician, told Al-Ahram Weekly that Ramadan was the high season for musicians in oriental orchestras. “I have Iftar and Sohour at work during Ramadan, and family gatherings for Iftar are arranged according to my work schedule,” Abdel-Alim said during an Iftar for media workers.
Music is often played while guests are having Iftar. “We had Iftar while the organiser was making his speech,” Said Abdel-Wahab, another musician, added. “We usually have Iftar with our families on the first two days and the last day of Ramadan. It is also possible to have Iftar at home if I arrange with a colleague and he replaces me,” Abdel-Wahab, a oud (lute) player, said.
For Shady Mahmoud who played the tabla (drums) at the same event, “in the first week of Ramadan it was my first wedding anniversary, but I still had to be at work. Thankfully my wife understood,” he said.
Three of the orchestra members also work as music teachers, and they said the busy nights could last until the end of September.
“I have Iftar with my family on my days off,” Mohamed Abdel-Fattah said. Abdel-Fattah, 45, has been working in the hotel sector for 25 years and believes that “Ramadan days are the most holy of the year, but for us they are also working days as well.”
Sometimes he wishes he could be one of the guests who come to the hotel he works in on holiday “to enjoy family gatherings”, he said.
Said Khalaf, 46, a manager at a Cairo five-star hotel, told the Weekly that “I have Iftar at work in Ramadan. At the beginning of the month we prepare for events that take place at the hotel later on. I may have Iftar on the first day at home, however.”
Working during Ramadan imposes its own routines and behaviour. According to Khalaf, “I work during the holiday of Sham Al-Nessim as well, though sometimes I wish I could spend it with my children. Unfortunately, one year I spent the whole day with my son in hospital.”
Although these workers miss spending Ramadan with family members, they also feel grateful to have good jobs. “Do not eat on your feet” is a proverb that does not apply to Khalaf. “I am used to eating while standing at work,” he said, laughing.
The hurry that can be present in the streets before Iftar as people rush to get home can appear at work as well. “However, a good manager is self-confident and spreads an atmosphere of calm and respect among workers and guests,” Nabil Badr, a hotel worker for 35 years, said.
However, some people still rush to meet Iftar. “I usually have Iftar at one restaurant and Sohour in another, although I am married and have a child. I have to spend Ramadan at work because I have to see to clients,” Mohamed Zakaria, 31, told the Weekly.
Bassam Karem, the manager of an ice-cream franchise, agreed that some clients could be impatient before Iftar. “Anyone who works in the service sector does not have the same holidays, and there may even be problems finding a sufficient number of workers,” he commented.
If Ramadan is a hectic month for some jobs and some people are obligated to work during Iftar, others, like Ahmed Refaat, 37, a taxi driver, enjoys working during Iftar. “I have Iftar with my parents on the first day of Ramadan, but maybe when I get married I will change my work schedule,” he said.
Refaat said that in his job the best time to work is the two hours before Iftar and then to Sohour before dawn. “The main meal for me is Sohour because I eat only dates for Iftar,” he added.

Clic here to read the story from its source.