The 5th year of Precious Life ladies have ventured into our camps Somalisa and Kanga. Each year since 2012 our camps in Zimbabwe have provided platforms for the students to do their 6-month hospitality and catering attachments. The staff of the camps have passionately taken on these ladies each year and shared their knowledge and knowhow. There is a mentor in each department from our team of staff who will guide and train them to succeed, they will work in housekeeping, kitchen, storekeeping, waitering and front of house. This program has proven so successful that for some hardworking individuals it has resulted in permanent jobs.
We are partnered with the Precious Life Foundation who are a non-profit organisation in Zimbabwe. They help women from vulnerable backgrounds get into the work place and gain confidence and industry experience which leads to job opportunities, and brighter futures for themselves and the families who rely upon them.
From 2012 to 2015 we have placed 13 students and this year Somalisa welcomes Lisa and Sheron, whilst Kanga Camp enjoys the smiles of Gugulethu and Mitchell.
The young ladies have given us an insight into their new worlds below;
At Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park;
My First day at Somalisa was fantastic, we were welcomed in style with a cake which was so nice. The staff are so amazing and are always jovial and ready to help. They have made it a priority to keep us smiling at all times. It’s been amazing to see elephants a moment away from you, before I have only known them on a television.
Somalisa camp is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, from Somalisa Main Camp to Acacia, the place is to die for. During the day it is very hot but in the mornings and evenings it gets very cold. Currently I am in the stores department, I have learnt to interact well with other departments and to keep the camp clean. I am able to identify goods, name them correctly, put the numbers down on Bin Cards and inputting these onto the Electronic Bin Card System. I have learnt about the ‘First In First Out’ method and I keep the stores neat and tidy at all times. I have had good and patient teachers.
My First week here in Somalisa was good because all the staff are so friendly and they make us feel welcome and comfortable.
I love the place and the good environment here, it is breathtaking seeing animals like lions and elephants.
So far in the housekeeping department I have learnt a lot such as the proper standard of making beds, how to use the washing machine and keeping the rooms clean. The staff that I am working with in housekeeping are so amazing, especially Macbeth who is a very good teacher.
I am also learning how to make the living room spotlessly clean and being able to survey the rooms after cleaning, as well as how to do turn down in the evening. I enjoy welcoming the guests and I know now how to knock on the door if I want to know if the guest is inside the room.
At Kanga Camp in Mana Pools National Park;
It was such an exciting moment for me when I was told that I would be visiting Kanga, as I started my journey to kanga I anticipated what lay ahead. Upon reaching Makuti I was overwhelmed by the welcome that I got from Sekuru John, Sebastian and Costa it was like we were family, from that moment I was certain in my heart that Kanga was going to be interesting.
When I arrived at Kanga Camp I was stunned by another amazing welcome by all staff members and most importantly the camp itself. As if that was not enough we were treated like high class guests. Moving from the front office to my room I could feel the quiet atmosphere of the bush welcoming me.
Being in the bush for the first time felt amazing. No cars moving around, no factories making noise. I could hear nothing but birds singing and lions roaring. I still could not believe I was finally at Kanga. After the orientation was done, everything was in place. In my life I had never seen such united staff members who live together like one big family full of nothing but love.
Just a week after settling into the Camp, I was called into the office and it troubled me because I thought I had done something wrong, to my amazement it was a surprise lunch. I was touched because it made me feel wanted and loved.
Sitting around the fire after our day’s chores has been one of my favourite times as it brings people together. Working in the Kitchen with Chef Zolani has been equally wonderful as he keeps teaching me new things every day.
Watching the animals go about their day to day lifestyle is also exciting. But what I love most about Kanga is the magnificent view of the dam on the deck, there is no place like Kanga Dining. I also love the stillness of the bush because it opens up one’s mind, it brings peace to your soul, and it helps you think beyond the box. I do not know how, but Kanga does the trick for me. I still anticipate the days that lie ahead.
Tired of the long journey an adventurous eventful and memorable one, I could not help it but smile at the happy faces with ambience and a warm a welcome from Nyemwe and the other staff members.
I had already met Uncle John, Aunty Veronica, Uncle Costa and Sebastian despite having that thought of being so far from home for a minute there I suddenly felt home. We took our bags to the room which Aunty Veronica showed us. It had already been prepared for us. We entered the room and looked at each other’s faces I could see the expression on Gugu’s face that she was glad we were here. With two days of resting we actually got the chance to chat with them and everyone was showing us their work departments. Having the great love and appreciation of nature being in the bush and actually loving on a place with so many wild animals I find this place beautiful and amazing. My first sight of the elephant, I was so happy I even wished I could get closer and touch the enormous beast. We were given a choice of choosing a department to start with and I chose housekeeping.
My first day at work was a bit hard because I had to understand the principles and policies of handling things in the department, but slowly I worked hard at my best level and tried pushing myself. But now I have got a bit of confidence in what I am doing with the amazing help of the two wonderful teachers Felistas and Sekuru John who are confident in me and strongly believe if I practise harder I will make a wonderful hard working housekeeper, that saying, practise makes perfect.
There was nothing that I have seen or felt that would ever beat the Welcome to Kanga Lunch, I had never been so amused and surprised! It was that day that will always be fresh in my memories.
I hope to have a memorable experience working here, I believe in making memories every day.
We are grateful for all the hard work that these young women will do in the camps this year and we are happy that they are enjoying the experience out in the Zimbabwean wildernesses. Keep up the great work!
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