Shamim’s life on the road – Happy on the job amid COVID-19

Mohammed Shamim on the job. Picture: SHIRAZ KASIM

Mohammed Shamim’s lack of an appropriate level of education does not discourage him from pursuing what he wants in life. In fact he enjoys sweating it out as a labourer and is content with his life!

Shamim said the challenges of a killer virus had him worried about losing his employment as a labourer with a reputable road maintenance contractor, but he was proven wrong.

“I thank my employer for keeping me in the job,” he said.

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on so many individuals in the country. So many people were left unemployed. I was fortunate enough to carry on with my employment.”

The 48-year-old Sabeto native said he harboured no regrets at his decision to drop out of school at primary level.

“I only attended form two and worked as a “paaniwala” (water-boy) for my cane cutter until I reached 20 years old and started harvesting cane for a living.

“I used to be employed as a labourer for the then Public Works Department, which was mostly seasonal work when the Lautoka Sugar Mill stopped crushing.

“As time lapsed with all the challenges I endured, I never wilted, but rather kept moving forward with life and a firm goal of securing a permanent job.

“I was so fortunate to be offered a decent employment with my current employer and I’ve been here for the past three years.” He said his work was not for the faint hearted.

“The role I play in a road construction work zone is dangerous. Normal road conditions are adjusted for the benefit of the road users and most importantly for our team of workers because we’re usually concentrated on our work and not watching the traffic passing through the zones.

“Most of us also have families at home waiting for us to arrive safely. It is very important for the public to adhere to the signs we put out to eliminate any danger because safety is paramount to everyone, especially of the workers.

“Majority of the drivers are courteous and comply with all the road signs, however, there are some drivers also who have total disregard for the safety and welfare of the road workers.”

He said no one should get any closer to the actual work area because it could be dangerous.

“Traffic is handled in and around the road works with temporary but specific lower speed limit signs including traffic signs such as the ‘stop’ or ‘go’ signs including the placing of cones at key strategic positions.

“It’s done to ensure the traffic keeps moving if the road works are carried out for partial lane closures.

“Alternatively, there are detour signs if there are full road closures. Signs are set up to offer accurate traffic directions for the motorists.

“I love my work because I get paid.” The eligible bachelor had some strong messages for the masses.

“Everyone is born with talents and not experience.

“We should be engaged in constructive work and never use the lame excuse of having an inappropriate level of education as a factor to indulge in criminal activities.

“No matter how difficult or dirty a job is, go for it because one gets paid at the end of the week.

“Earn money only through ethical and honest means.”

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