Captain Stories Project: Mohamed Shahed

“My wife died a year and a half ago, but I still feel her presence around me every day. I don’t doubt it for a second that she is actually near me and with me. She passed away from an illness. We didn’t have much time to do anything from her time of diagnosis to the time of her death.

“It went by very fast, and I stayed home with her for the months when she was ill. I had no trouble in doing that. I wanted to be there and I was happy to give her that time. She always supported me, and we were always a unit. She helped me buy a home for the family by saving up the money I sent home every month while I was in Dubai. I never asked her what she was doing with the money or how she was spending it, and one day we had a house for the entire family!

“I took a break from work for a year. She wanted to go out and work to bring some extra money in, but I told her to relax and stay at home. I wanted to treat her like the queen that she was.

“She gave me six children and now it’s a responsibility for me to raise them myself. My eldest is eighteen; she’s at university studying and very smart. She’s helping to take care of her siblings with my mother, but one day she’ll have her own family and I don’t expect her to help raise her young sisters and brother.

“My wife and I used to take them on trips whenever we had the time and chance. Eye-opening experiences and travel are the best way to educate your children, and education is like an eye– if you don’t have it, you can’t navigate through your life or deal with technology, which is at the core of everything right now.

“If my children stick together, keep their ties to one another strong, and get an education, I couldn’t wish for more for them. I have been living in Dubai since I was 15. My dad was working in a bank, and I spent my high school years here. Life was cheaper in Dubai then, he was able to have his four children living with him– which I can’t do now.

“I make good money with Careem to be able to go back home for two months at a time. I go back about three times a year. Eventually I’ll save up enough and go back home to Pakistan permanently. My youngest is three and he’ll need me as a teenager. It takes a lot to raise children.”

 Mohamed, 42 years old, Dubai.