Is This A Case Of Dying To Survive

"Dwell in thought upon the grandest, and the grandest you shall see; Fix your mind upon the highest, and the highest you shall be." Unknown

OK, I feel like I am the only one who will ever write about Mr. Muhammad, a neighbor, who lived in my small community here in Trinidad. He died on the first day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. I’m sure if the family pays for his obituary in the local newspaper, that’s all he will get. That would read like “he was the father of XYZ and the husband of A, brother of B” and so on but that would hardly convey the true story.

Mr. Muhammad was working on the Bailey bridge in Macoya. His company had secured the contract to reconstruct the bridge after a recent fatal accident in which 3 people lost their lives. The bridge had to be totally reconstructed prior to the Royal visit from the Queen Elizabeth II of England and over 50 other dignitaries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations.

To his credit, Mr. Muhammad was a very industrious man who died working to provide for his family. What is really tragic is that his death will pass with no connection to what actually happened. The untold story is that for about thirty days straight Mr. Mohammad worked on the bridge sometimes with only four hours sleep. He worked almost continuously coming home to refresh his clothes take a short nap and head back out to work. There is a prevailing belief here, in Trinidad that the human capacity is inexhaustible. If a man can stand and talk he can work. Sometimes work just means you are present and breathing.

Mr. Muhammad death discounts that theory but sadly it will go unnoticed because the demise man can result from a wide variety of ailments; “who knows what killed him”. It is not unusual for a strong hard working man to get a pain in his side and die shortly after being rushed to the hospital. A lack of sleep and total exhaustion could not account for that quick end to a life filled with desire.

Unfortunately, contemporary research on man’s capacity to perform under stress has not reached this Third World showcase of success as we strive to attain First World status with a 20/20 Vision. It appears that the Vision is not in how we see the world but how the world sees us. As citizens all we can see is the over industrialization of our country and a changing skyline.

Even if our country still don’t not adhere to all of the International Labor Organization’s resolutions with respect to the number of hours a worker can be on the job, basic human decency should prevail. How could anyone think it is healthy to have workers on the job for 20 hour stretches? That is not unusual here. Would that happen in a First World country?

May Mr. Muhammad soul rest in Peace, he will be buried tomorrow in a quite funeral attended by his family and the people who respected his hard work ethic and his dying determination to provide for his family. These words are dedicated to him. Peace onto him. Amen.

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