By Nawara Fattahova
One of the most important jobs in Kuwait, especially during the unbearably hot months of summer, is of air conditioning repairmen. These men (and they are almost exclusively men) mostly hail from India, Egypt, Bangladesh and the Philippines, and are heroes for the many offices and homes that suffer sudden crises of AC malfunctions in the midst of 50 C heat.
Ahmad Ali Al-Jihlan is one such superstar. A 40-year-old AC technician with a talent for quick mechanical work, he arrived in Kuwait in 2008 and has worked in the same job with the same company for the last 13 years.
“Every day I leave the house before 7:00 am to either go the office or directly to a repair job, depending on the schedule. On average, I go to three or four locations daily during summertime. For some orders I have to go repeatedly when spare parts are needed to fix the problem. Sometimes I spend over two hours at one place, and in some cases I spend almost the entire day in one location,” Jihlan told Kuwait Times.
As most of the mechanical parts of an air conditioner are located on the roof or outside of buildings, that is where Ahmad spends most of his time. Ahmad can repair all kinds of air-conditioning systems. “Usually at the company, the technicians are divided into groups. I’m specialized in split units and window ACs, while other colleagues repair central ACs. I sometimes repair central ACs too, but this happens rarely – only when we have a shortage of technicians,” he pointed out.
The hardest time of work is during the holy month of Ramadan. “The majority of my work is outdoors. It’s exhausting when I have to do repairing and fixing on the roof of a house or the yard under the sun when the weather is so hot, and I can’t even drink water. But I still love my job as this was my hobby since I was young. I graduated from a technical institute for cooling and air conditioning in Egypt. I also used to fix the ACs of my friends back home,” noted Jihlan.
His family complains that he doesn’t spend much time with them, as he is busy all the time. “In my job as a technician, I have to work overtime on most days during the summer. I get paid for the additional hours I spend working, but on the other hand my family always complains that they only see me very little,” he said.
Winter is a time of relief for Ahmad. “During winter, I don’t work overtime, as work is much less due to the pleasant weather. But some people still use the AC, even in wintertime. Also during winter, we have clients who are constructing new buildings; the cooling system is part of the construction, and they prefer finishing this work before summer,” explained Jihlan.
“Winter is the season when I have more time to spend with my family, as I’m always home by 5:00 pm. I can also practice my hobby that I love very much – fishing. Also because the weather is nice, I can enjoy time outdoors with my kids,” he added.