A small man is peeking around the corner of a huge car, crammed full with paper waste. He is smiling. Next to the packed vehicle Mohamed Abd El Zaher appears even smaller and more delicate than he actually is. But the first impression is wrong. The slim 67-years old express great joy and vitality, which brings him a special attention. And, he has a task, which requires a lot of strength and diligence: Mohamed is responsible for the waste separation in SEKEM.
Since more than 36 years Mohamed Abd El Zaher is already working on the SEKEM Farm. “Dr. Ibrahim is like a father for me, I spent more time with him than with my real father”, the SEKEM co-worker tells. “He taught me a lot and I am always happy when he comes to see me during his regular walks on the farm.”
Many years ago, when Mohamed started to work for SEKEM there have only the first small fields been cultivated in the desert. He learned how to cut the grass with the scythe and witnessed the first harvests. Later on, he was engaged to the compost production and when SEKEM got the first cows Mohamed learned milking them. “I know every square meter of this farm”, he says. “SEKEM is like my second home.”
10 years ago Mohamed took over the responsibility for the waste management. He has one colleague, who supports him in collecting the garbage from all factories, educational institutions and houses. The vital 67-years old is then sorting every single garbage bag and accurately separating plastic from paper, glass from cellophane or non-recyclable waste. “In SEKEM I learned that waste can be further processed or recycled or needs to be disposed professionally, so that the environment won’t be harmed”, the family man tells. He lives in a village near to the SEKEM Farm where the streets are full of rubbish – unfortunately a common scenario in Egypt.
The ambitious SEKEM employee is living together with a huge family, which is well known in his village. For sure this is connected to the fact that the son of Mohamed’s brother is reciting from the Quran. He is reading at funerals in the surrounding villages and even reciting for a radio station. “My nephew is very renowned in the region. Even my colleagues heard his voice in the radio”, Abd El Zaher proudly tells.
Obviously, Mohamed feels the same proud about his own children. He has four daughters and two sons, who are both engineers. One of his sons is committed to SEKEM as well; he is working for the company ISIS Organic.
“My wife is the greatest love of my life”, Mohamed reveals. “She always supported me and I wish her all the luck in this world and God’s blessing.”
Mohamed Abd El Zaher seems to be a truly satisfied man. This is not only what his likable and relaxed attitude reveals but also his wish for the future: “If my life continuous like it is at the moment, I am a real happy person.”