Trucks / Stories / Pictures


HS Schoch


Oman is on the road of modernization

It's a bit tricky to find a native Omani working as a truck driver in his own country (and probably there is no female truck driver to be found in the entire country). The reason is quite simple: When Sultan Qaboos started with a moderate programme of modernization Oman was a country with lots of nomads and farmers not ready for doing the jobs which had to be done in the new times. The money Omans is earning with the fossile fueles under the desert sands now helps to change the country's face fundamentally - nowadays Oman pushes infrastructure projects in order to boost any region country in (or at least towards) the 21st century.

But when Sultan Qaboos gained power in 1970 the people lived in the rampant capital of Muscat and in scattered villages throughout the country with is full of mountains and deserts and followed ancient traditions. So Oman began to "import" the labour force from the Indian Subcontinent. Nowadays some 700.000 heads of the population can be classified as migrants - or guests, as Mohammed Awadh Ali is eager to say. The founder and head of the group of enterprises Oriental is a typical arab patriarch and his working staff almost doesn't dare to look him straight in his eyes. The core material in Mohammed's business is concrete - he's running a fleet of mixers, pumps, produces ready made concrete material and owns mixing plants where the stuff for Omans infrastructure projects is made.

Musa Isa Mohammed Balushi is working for the patriarch - and the young man took his chances. Coming eight years ago from the town of As Suwayq, Musa started as an aide for a mechanic at Oriental, became a mechanic himself, upgraded as a truck driver and now is kind of a special dispatcher for the concrete trucks and pumps. As Musa has learned to speak a language of the Indian truck drivers he is well respected by them. And best of all: "If he continues to learn" he will have even more chances, says Mohammed Awadh Ali, the patriarch.

Chances, dreams,the hopes for a better life: Musa seems to be on a good way, and lots of this stuff can be found amongst the migrants froim India. But how many dreams have been buried under the desert sands?

for the whole story contact: Richard Kienberger