Written by: Wendy Hunter, manager at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
This month the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge‘s SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Lodge Association) project decided to invite some local children around to the lodge. Despite knowing the lodge well, none of them had previously had an opportunity to visit the lodge to see how it operates and see the work that their parents and other community members are doing at the lodge.
An open day was held for children aged between 10 and 15 years old in order to give them an insight in to the tourism industry. The aim was to attract 30 children that would spend the day moving around all of the departments learning about how each operates. When the morning arrived we had 25 participants signed up and Yvonne, our receptionist, went to greet them and bring them to the lodge. When she arrived to collect them she was greeted with 82 smiling faces all hoping to come for the experience! As it was not logistically possible to have them all at once, we have scheduled a second day for the other 52 children who were desperate to come and learn.
The children were given an introduction to the lodge and details about the jobs that community members do at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. They were then taken to their first department; housekeeping. Our room steward Jolie explained all of the different aspects of housekeeping and what everything in the room was and why it was needed. The hairdryers proved a huge hit and the children were “blown away” with this novel idea. Each child was wide eyed with intrigue at all of the details in the rooms and the jobs that must be done. As you can see from the photographs, the whole day was fully interactive with the children putting in to practice what they were learning about.
From housekeeping they moved on to garden and maintenance, security, kitchen and food & beverage. In each department our staff would explain the role and jobs that they were required to do and then the children would participate in an activity themselves. They were extremely interested in learning about how to correctly set a table in the dinning room and what each item of cutlery was used for. Our waiter Kanani was able to teach the children, including his own son and daughter, all about laying the table and the role of a waiter within the lodge.
In order for the children to consolidate everything they had learned they participated in a quiz at the end of the day and were treated to a lunch and cake from our chefs. Each child received a certificate of participation from the lodge, new pencils and a gorilla carving.
We gave the children a short feedback form from the day and it would seem that they thoroughly enjoyed their time. Yvonne said that they loved it so much and that they felt like they had learned so much that she suggested it is something that we should continue to do each year. We are very much looking forward to our second session so that we can accommodate the number of children who enrolled on the first day and carrying this activity over each year for our local youth to participate.