Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Little Blue Jumpsuit Men

This morning I woke up around 5:00 and took Graziella out for a walk. I arrived at the walking path near our house around 5:45 or so. This path follows the main road into Abu Dhabi Town so it is a heavily traveled roadway lined with palm trees, parks, and newly built walking paths. Being so early in the morning, the work traffic was zooming by. I noticed, as I always do, the many buses full of construction workers. Something always tugs at my heart when I see these buses so full of the bone weary men in their little blue jumpsuits.

(In Abu Dhabi, blue jumpsuits mean construction workers, orange jumpsuits mean street sweepers and janitorial workers, green suits mean lawn care or ground maintenance, etc.)

A sea of faces peer from the windows looking forlorn and tired. Few are smiling. Some ride with their heads down or resting against the window.

This morning, just out of curiousity, I began to count the buses as they passed while I walked. I walked for about 30 minutes, up one way, then turning around and retracing my steps to go back down the walking path. I counted 156 buses.

Let that sink in for a minute.

156 buses in a span of about 30 minutes.

All of them full of men in blue jumpsuits heading to construction sites in Abu Dhabi.

The construction companies provide living quarters for the workers in dormitory style settings outside the city in an area called Mussafah. Usually these people have no cars or anything else and the companies provide bus transportation to work and back every day.

Maintenance workers hang their lunch on the palm trees while they work.

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