We have set ourselves the goal for 2019 to give our guests a personal insight into our favourite island resorts. And so, we launched our interview series Heart of the House where we interview a staff member from an island resort.
Kicking off the series is Antigone Meda, the wonderful hospitality manager from Thanda Island.
How did you get into the travel industry?
My family was working in the tourism hospitality industry in Kenya at its peak time in the 80s and 90s. I have vivid memories as a child of our restaurant and the warm vibrant Italian hospitality that always brought customers back with smiles.
I believe this created a strong foundation of what led me back into the industry. I graduated with a visual communication degree, but I always found myself back in the travel/tourism industry.
What is a normal day like for you at Thanda Island?
When you’re living and working in paradise, there is no normal day. Every day is special, filled with surprises. This is what Africa is like: you never know what will come about and so we embrace every day.
How long are you on the island for at a time?
We work on shift cycles: 3 months on and 1 month off. Our local staff who live on Tanzania’s nearby Mafia Island are on 3 weeks on and 1 week off cycle.
What is your favourite thing about living on Thanda Island?
I wish I could write them all down, but I may run out of space. My favourite thing is the freedom one experiences off the grid; the island is timeless! The mental sanity and peace that you can experience are amazing; there’s pollution-free skies, endless colours and yet so much to do. It’s great!
What is the best experience you’ve had at Thanda Island?
The best experience on the island is seeing the transformation of the place, and how nature has accepted us. Turtles have come back to their nests after 7 years when before there were no turtles on the island. The hatching of our first nest was the most emotional time on the island! It feels that we are doing something right for our environment. And this is so important for Thanda Island – to have a long-lasting positive impact on our ecosystem.
Do you have a favourite memory of when you were able to make a client really happy?
Every guest is special, and it is an honour to be able to be part of delivering emotions to them. We also take pride in our excursions and the up-close-and-personal experience with the stunning marine life like our whale shark safaris. No matter what level of adventurous streak you have… our team is here to be there with you!
I remember one of our guests came back from the whale shark trip very excited, telling me about her experience. She was so full of emotion and overjoyed. She explained that if it hadn’t been for our guide, she would have never had the courage to jump into the water. He read her face and emotion. He took her hand, held her tight, looked at her firmly with a smile, nodded, waiting for her approval. She looked at him, and under his lead, forgetting everything else… she nodded back, and they jumped in… splash! She landed in the water holding the guide’s hand tightly and this beautiful creature passed by them so elegantly, oblivious to the world around it. Quick! The guide swam holding the guest’s hand to follow this magnificent creature for a little while.
When she explained her story, I was proud that my team would go the extra mile to deliver this excitement and emotion to our guests, knowing they will never forget us. This is what we live for!
Have you become immune to the beauty of living on an island resort, or do you still love it?
I love every minute of it! The island is continuously growing and evolving, and I am still in love with it. It’s impossible to get bored at Thanda Island. There’s never a dull moment in paradise.