Zaker Hussain Zaheri was making a good living as a cook, until Afghanistan went into lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and his work dried up.
Now, instead of cooking food in a restaurant, Zaheri, 28, digs a series of 2-meter-long (6.5-foot) trenches on a mountain in the outskirts of Kabul aimed at saving the city from a water crisis, while at the same time, helping him to afford the daily needs of his spouse and seven children.
AFGHAN LABOURER, ZAKER HUSSAIN ZAHERI, SAYING:
“I was a cook at one of Kabul’s restaurants, but right after the outbreak of the coronavirus and the lockdown in Kabul, I lost my job, and now I’m working as a labourer at the Kabul surface water project.”
“This is a tough job, but I have to do it to earn halal food. Also I take pride in the reconstruction of my country, this is good for the future of our country.”
“We pray to God to remove the virus from our country as well as other Islamic countries so we will be able to get back to our previous jobs and start normal lives.”
“I live at this house, and I pay 3,000 Afghani ($39) in rent. I have seven children, and I earn 300 Afghani ($3.89) a day, which I can put towards our daily expenses. My children sometimes ask me to buy them pens, notebooks, and clothes, so there are a lot of problems.”
“We appreciate that despite the threat of coronavirus, our father works on the mountain to earn money. The rich people don’t go out, and they stay at their homes at this juncture, but my father goes out and works for us. We appreciate him.”
SITE ENGINEER FOR KABUL WATER PROJECT, SANAGR AHMADI, SAYING:
“The main goal of this project is to control the surface water of the rain in the mountains. Once we dig a trench, then we will plant a tree in it to save the water and so the tree can benefit from the saved water. Also, a lot of people lost their jobs in Kabul (due to the spread of coronavirus), so we have hired them to earn a living and to serve the country.”