Meet Louie: Coolest Employee & Fastest Runner
Thlaoni, who goes by the name Louie, is a member of the Production Team at HomeBiogas is also a professional athlete. In the 2017 Israel Field Race Championship Louie finished second. “My dream is to win a half-marathon world championships medal for Israel,” he says.
Louie is an Eritrean refugee. He arrived in Israel in 2012 on foot, by crossing through Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. He left Eritrea at the age of 12, a boy alone without his family. His journey was long and arduous; it took him over a year to cross the borders and get to Israel. During this year he had to go without food and water for days, and was confronted with very difficult situations in refugee camps.
Since arriving in Israel, Louie took up running as a hobby and as a professional sport. He works 3 days a week at HomeBiogas and trains on his days off. In the 2017 Israel Field Race Championship Louie was denied the silver medal—despite finishing second in the race—due to rules stating athletes over 18 must be citizens of Israel. The 1st and 3rd place winners boycotted the medal ceremony in solidarity with Louie. Similar cases exist in other countries in the world, such as in Europe, where there are many asylum seekers.
“It was a very embarrassing moment for me,” says Louie, “but I had been through so much in my life, I felt OK. I knew I would get over it, and that things would work out.”
Louie has been working at HomeBiogas for 4 months. His positive attitude is contagious.
Here is a short interview, so you could get to know him too:
What do you like most about working here?
“The people. It’s like a family. We are all friends, equal. We all have lunch together and talk every day.”
Have you learned a lot about environmental issues since you started working here? How do you feel about these issues?
“Yes, I think the system we make is awesome. At first I didn’t believe it works. I said ‘No way this machine is making the gas you cook on!’ But they showed me how… It’s a miracle! I wish I could send one to my family back in Eritrea, but I believe it would get confiscated by Customs. I realize now how important it is to recycle, to take care of our planet, keep the air clean. I hope I will always be working in a “green” job that helps the environment.”
Ofer, the Production Manager, praises Louie’s attitude:
“He is so motivated. He learns quickly and does a very good job. We know his running career comes first place, and we always respect his competition schedule. When he wins a race, our Whatsapp group buzzes with cheers – as if we just signed a new partnership deal with a client. Everyone likes him– he’s definitely the coolest employee at HomeBiogas.”
Written by: Inbal Elad