The Scarlet Pimpernel

24 January 2017 | Inside Angama |

Kate spent 24 mind-boggling hours with Angama Mara's engineer, and this is a non-stop, but typical, day in his life

There is no fiction, exaggeration or embellishment in this story.

My name is Cyrus Kimongo and I am the engineer at Angama Mara and this is an actual ‘Day in my Life’.

Cyrus Kimongo

06h00: My inspection starts in North Camp guest area. Every morning I check both camps by 7am before my guests arrive for breakfast. Are the fire pits cleaned, restocked and looking perfect? Check. Are the coldroom and freezer at the same temperature as I set them last night? Check. Are all the plugs in the kitchen on, and all machines working? Check. Are the guest cloakrooms clean and wc’s flushing properly? Check. This is excellent, as everything needs to be perfect for my guests. At Angama Mara guest delight is everyone’s job – especially if you are head of maintenance.

Cyrus morning inspections

Now it’s time to inspect the length of the property with William and Jacob: we check the paths and tent numbers, ensuring that the zebras haven’t scuffed them while wandering around camp while my guests slept. A quick ‘Jambo’ to George at the Pavilion to see that the pool is sparkling. Check. No squeaks on the treadmills in the Fitness Room? Check.

Cyrus Morning inspection collage

On my way to South Camp I notice what a beautiful morning it is out there in the Mara, I can even see some elephant at the waterhole down below. I can’t be distracted for too long, as I need to check the paths, lights and numbers. Check, check.

This hour with my team, allows me to assess what has happened in the night, which I spot quickly as we walk, and then my team comes back after breakfast and rectifies everything that we have discussed. I have the memory of an elephant, so I will know what to double check on my afternoon rounds. I don’t need a notebook as my notebook is in my head!

Clearing the Angama Paths

07h30: I grab a quick breakfast as I still need to do the following checks before my HOD meeting at 9am sharp:

  • Check the workshop for stock that needs to be ordered today
  • Check in at the shamba to plan the gardeners’ day
  • Check the generators – these we use for back up in case the power goes out. I promise my guests 24 hour power. I see one battery is flat, I will call for a new one from the workshop
  • Check back in at the Pavilion with George to discuss an issue I thought about over breakfast regarding the pool
  • Check the unoccupied tents: wc’s flushing? The sparkling water that we purify at Angama Mara still sparkling? The safes working? I spot a cobweb that others missed – I will raise this with housekeeper James.

Cyrus at ANgama Maras Shamba

09h00: At our HOD meeting I listen to all the information on incoming guests, and any special requirements they may have that affects my team. My colleagues request maintenance assistance in their departments, and I make a mental note to get on top of it straight away. How can my colleagues delight my guests when something is not working perfectly?

Angama Mara HOD meeting

Meeting over – time to start my rounds again: are the filters and the gas levels in our water purifying system spot on? Are the laundry machines working well? After a quick visit to the workshop to check some tyres on one of our vehicles I head back to the shamba to discuss the porcupine break-in last night. It ate so many of our vegetables, but I have a plan! Next is the water storage plant to ensure that water is getting to my guests without any problems. Check. Then back to the shamba to see the water truck come in and irrigate our beautiful garden. Has the generator battery been replaced? Check. Last stop before lunch is the Pavilion to check in with our tailor Ondeyo who is mending vehicle rain covers, and a quick repair to the safe in Tent 1 before the guests check in.

A busy Day in Cyrus Life

12h30: Lunch with my team to discuss any feedback, and then I head to the office to handle paperwork and ordering. Most staff know to find me in the office between 1 and 2pm.

14h00: My afternoon round begins. I see everything – even though I am not as young as some of my colleagues I know when they see me staring at something, they try to see what I see before I say anything! It is time to walk the grounds again and check that everything that needed fixing has been fixed. Check. I look at branches that might be touching the flysheets of the tents, as these need to be cut off, so that my guests don’t wake up at night thinking there is an animal on their roof. Check. Back to the Pavilion I go to tell George to trim the trees slightly in front of the pool. Angama Mara’s view is so beautiful, my guests must see it from wherever they are in the lodge.

Cyrus Sees Everything

15h00: Back to the workshop I go to check in on all the trees I have waiting to be planted. We are growing them here until the rains come, and then we will plant. In another 2 years, South Camp will look like North Camp’s forest. Are the trees doing well? Check

Angama Mara Trees to be planted

16h00: I am back in the shamba making sure that the calabash construction has progressed according to plan. Check. While I am here I will also discuss fertilising the soil with our gardener William. I make a note to discuss with Chef what needs to be on the menus, as we have already harvested 40kgs of tomatoes. We need to look at the number of guests arriving and what we need to plant. Our shamba is new, we will get there, but whatever we don’t need, take it out!

Angama Mara Entrance to the Shamba

17h00: Time to go off property and check on the two Angama Foundation projects we are building: teachers’ accommodation at Emurototo School and classrooms at Partikilat School. This will be quick as I can see problems immediately with my eyes, but to show the youngsters, it is sometimes better to explain with a tape measure. On my way back to the lodge I check the windsock so that our pilots can land safely on our airfield tomorrow. Then on to our staff village to make sure it is clean, tidy and that everything is working. Generators next, in preparation for the night ahead. Check the water and ice from the purifier for tomorrow. Are the cold room and freezer set correctly for the night. Fires lit? Check. Check. Double check.

Angama Foundation Projects with Cyrus

18h00: I am back in the office catching up, and this way I am also close to the generators in case there is a power failure and I need to switch them on.

19h00: After dinner I am usually back in the office planning for tomorrow, and thinking how proud I am of my team of ten, and all that we manage to get done in a day. As I said, guest delight is everyone’s business.

Have we delighted my guests today? Check!

Cyrus saying take it out

Note from the writer: when I put my hand up to write the Day in The Life of Cyrus Kimongo, I knew he was Angama Mara’s busiest team member, but I had NO idea what he got up to in 13 (exhausting) hours. Cyrus is just like the hero from one of my favourite children’s books, The Scarlet Pimpernel – he’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere! I was secretly 5 months pregnant following Cyrus around for a day, and eventually I had to tell him my secret and ask him to slow down so I could keep up. So if you can believe it, the above is Cyrus on a slow day.

Cyrus Hands at Angama Mara

AUTHOR: Kate Fitzgerald Boyd

Kate was born in a chafing dish – well almost. The date she was due to arrive was perilously close to Christmas and her mother wasn’t taking any chances so out she came just in time for a decent Christmas dinner to be served to the guests at the hotel of her childhood. Back-of-house babies, they call them. And she has never looked back and now logs more air miles than she knows what to do with sharing the Angama Mara story far and wide.

Lydia Of Australia
November 8, 2018

Well done brother Cyrus and Angama team!! Waoh!! Angama the place to visit!!

March 7, 2019

Looking forward to visiting this Gem

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