Meet Hadija, the head waitress at Asilia's women-run camp
We’d love to introduce you to Hadija. Passionate and hard-working, she is the head waitress at Dunia – the only camp in Africa that is entirely run by women. With a love for the bush and all the guests she meets through her job, Hadija is incredibly determined to progress her career. With hopes of managing a camp one day, she spends her free time reading and studying. We don’t think that anything will stop Hadija from achieving her dreams. Please scroll down to read more about Hadija, her wonderful work-ethic and attitude to life.
What is your favourite animal?
My favourite animal is the giraffe because it’s the first animal I see whenever I visit a national park in Tanzania. I also love the way that they walk, as delicate as a flower!
What is your favourite animal encounter?
When there are no guests in camp, we get the opportunity to go out on a game drive and my favourite encounter was the first time I saw lion up close. I have seen them so far away before, but on this one particular drive, they were right next to the road and this particular pride had cubs. The best thing was that all the cubs were climbing the tree and playing underneath it. It was amazing to be so close to such a powerful animal.
What is it that you like best about the bush?
First of all, I love the quietness. When I work in the bush, there are no distractions and I can really focus on my job. I also love hearing about the wildlife that guests see on their drives and having an opportunity to experience that myself. Lastly, I enjoy being able to save money. At home in the cities, you tend to catch up with friends in restaurants or you go shopping and it can be expensive. I got engaged this summer and we want to be able to afford a beautiful wedding.
Tell us about your journey with Asilia.
Well, I always wanted to work in hospitality, I knew that even when I was little. After I finished school, I went to college and studied a hotel management, food and beverage course. After college, I did some work placements and realised that I loved interacting with guests – chatting to them, hearing their stories – and from that point on, I knew I wanted to be front-of-house.
I have worked with Asilia for four years now and I am so proud to work at Dunia. It is the only camp in Africa that is entirely run by women and it’s a real statement to the world. When people first heard of Dunia, I remember a lot of people thinking that there was no way a camp run by women would be functional, especially when this industry is very male dominated. I think that all the staff were nervous at first – but, we did it! It was challenging, as any job can be, but we all work seamlessly as a team and everyone pulls their weight to help each other as much as possible. The women I work with are all very strong, passionate and determined to be successful in such a fast-paced industry.
I started as a waitress at Dunia but was promoted to head waitress after one year. I love my job so much and one day I would love to manage the camp. It would be the perfect progression because I would still be able to interact with the guests as well as having new responsibilities.
What is your biggest achievement?
For me, it was becoming financially independent from my parents. In this day and age, there are a lot of people who further their education and as a result are dependent upon their parents for longer. I feel so proud to have such an amazing job, where I don’t need to rely on my parents for help any more.
What’s one thing that the other staff members don’t know about you?
The other staff think that I go and rest in my room when I’ve finished a shift. What they don’t know, is that I love to read and study. I am very determined to reach my goal of becoming a manager one day, so whenever I get the opportunity, I am studying. I strongly believe that to succeed you have to first improve on your weaknesses, so furthering my knowledge and understanding of the hospitality industry is really important to me. I don’t want my own limitations to be the reason I don’t achieve my dreams.
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