In this edition, we continue our interview series with Ahmed Haji who is currently stationed in Timbuktu, Mali. Ahmed is from Morocco and is just one of our many field staff who work away from home. For this special group of people, working in foreign and remote environments bring about challenges both on professional and personal level. But at the end of day, they’ve always managed to dig deep, overcome and deliver. Suffice to say, they and everyone else on the CADG team have been instrumental in our many successes.
Hi Ahmed, thank you for taking some time out. Tell us a bit more about yourself please.
Ahmed: “My name is Ahmed HAJI, I am a Civil Engineer from a small town named Zagora in the south of Morocco,. I have a Master’s degree in “Engineering and Management of buildings and Publics works” from Morocco, and a second Master’s in “Management and Construction Management” from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.
Traveling for me is like earning a new life each time I change my place, that’s why I am here now in Mali giving my best at work as well as enjoying my time and experience every single day.”
How long have you been with CADG and what piqued your interest into being a part of the organization?
Ahmed: “I received a message from HRM about a job opportunity with CADG just as I was back from vacation.. I went through the offer and found out that it’s totally aligned with my qualifications – especially my with regards to my personal experience and interpersonal goals. It’s been almost two months now that I’ve become a part of CADG and I really enjoy the big family environment that’s full of respect and cooperation.”
Do fill us in briefly on the project you’re currently involved in and your role as well.
Ahmed: “Currently I’m involved in 3 different projects for the construction of 3 different Satellite Camps in Goundam, Ber and Léré around Timbuktu, Mali. As the Site Engineer I’m responsible for the (smooth) running of the sites and the completion of each technical aspects of the projects according to and within the agreed schedules.
It must be tough being away from home and family. How do you cope?
Ahmed: “Being away from family is not really something new for me as I’ve studied abroad and been away for work albeit in different Moroccan cities. However with that said, the feeling of homesick and of being far from my family and my friends is always present. But as they say – We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us. However, I believe that life is all about sacrifice – in order to achieve my goals I have to take decisions and actions. The decision to work for CADG helping building Satellite Camps here in Mali is for me the best action among others. These camps will bring peace and harmony to the community and the whole region.”
How has the support of colleagues and other team members helped you to focus on the job at hand?
Ahmed: “The thing I really appreciate the most is the help and cooperation of my colleagues within CADG that has been important and essential for me to do my work and to understand the perspectives of my tasks. That is one of the reasons why I wake up every morning full of energy to go to work and enjoy completing the work and tasks that have to be done with them.”
Being out-stationed or working in foreign lands does have its upside. What are some of the memorable experiences that you’ve had?
Ahmed: “Definitely – to travel is to take a journey into yourself. A week ago, I was trying to find my way to the location of a company we are working with, I was almost lost so I asked a local citizen if he could point me in the right direction. He said no words except “Follow me”, he took his bike and lead me about two kilometers right to the doorstep of the company and went back! I didn’t know how else I can thank him but Merci beaucoup mon ami!”
What advice and tips even would you give to those who are still perhaps in 2 minds, for whatever reasons, about working overseas and away from home?
Ahmed: “I believe that working away from home is a tough job but at the same time, it presents unlimited benefits and impact on a personal and professional level. Not only working in a foreign country offers you an exciting opportunity to discover the world and explore different cultures but it also has a palpable impact on your interpersonal skills. Working far away from home provides a lifetime of memories and on a professional level, it may just be the starting point to a steady and lucrative career path.”