Celebrating Salama Twizeyimana: The pool attendant at Kigali Serena Hotel

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Picture yourself floating on your back at the pool, your skin sun kissed and looking up to the clear blue skies with a touch of a few clouds. While the pool is one of the most relaxing places to be, there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have a professional attending the pool. The pool attendant is the most important man or in the case of Kigali Serena Hotel, woman in a hotel. As we celebrate International women’s Day, meet Salama Twizeyimana, the Pool attendant and lifeguard at Kigali Serena Hotel.

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What is the inspiration behind you wanting to work in the hotel industry?

What inspired me to work in the hospitality industry is my love for people and the satisfaction of knowing they are happy with my services.  I also used to watch on TV when all meeting would happen at Kigali Serena Hotel and I wished for a chance to work for the hotel so I could be part of the team that caters to the people who came for meeting/conferences to their satisfaction

Tell us a little on your journey in the hospitality Industry?

I first started working at Kigali Serena Hotel as a changing room attendant. I first learned of the vacancy through a newspaper advert which and i sent my CV. but it wasn’t until after a year that they called me in for an interview. I did three interviews which i emerged as the top candidate and on the next day, they called me in for my first day at work. I worked as a casual for a year after which they offered me a contract as a permanent staff.  I worked at the changing room for another three years then I became a swimming pool coach which I do to date

How has your position in the hospitality impacted you

Swimming is a hobby so when I was promoted to pool coach I was happy but I also knew I had to educate myself on everything it takes to be a competent pool attendant. So I attended I went for training on many things including how to treat a pool and how to save a guest’s life in case of drowning. I have also had the chance to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures which opens your eyes to a world beyond your own.

What are the most challenging issues you are facing on your current position especially as a woman?

Handling guests who might be drunk/intoxicated and insist on swimming which is highly discouraged as they pose a risk not only to themselves but also to other pool users.  Another challenge is also trying to discourage guests from swimming when it rains. Many might consider it as harmless after all it’s only a few drops of water, but it advised against. When people don’t listen sometimes makes me feel disrespected as a woman at in my work place.

How have you handled or gone about overcoming these challenges?

I try my best to explain to the guest why they cannot swim while intoxicated or when it is raining. If all fails, I will ask my supervisors or Manager to intervene and handle the situation.

What do you do at work that you enjoy so much you actually lose track of time?

It’s the little things like teaching a guest how to swim and then watching them gain confidence enough to float on water. I also enjoy a great deal playing with children at the pool

In your opinion, what is the most important quality to have in your line of work?

The necessary training one needs to become a pool attendant because you are dealing with people’s lives. Good customer service and self-sacrifice play a big role too in order to have a good reputation at Kigali Serena Hotel.

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