Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.
Waking up at 4am on a weekend is never on my agenda, except for those days in my early childhood when I used to do an Easter egg hunt. So as I dragged myself out of the house, little did I know I was going to find something worth to treasure. Something worth a whole lot more than a bucket of cracked boiled eggs and a handful of kinder chocolates in horrible colors.
I am the newcomer in the family of AYANA Resort and Spa Bali. At the end of my very first week, an orphanage visit is on schedule. Though this is not the maiden visit for the company, this time it has its own perks. A marathon runner; Scott Thompson is on his 25 day run from Bali to Jakarta to raise money for children with cancer. Stopping by the orphanage was not part of his schedule, but he jumped at the suggestion from Jerome Colson, AYANA‘s Food and Beverage Executive, who is an ultra-marathon runner and volunteered to join Scott for 150kms from Bali’s airport to the orphanage in the island’s north.
The kids from Sanatana Dharma orphanage were lining up in such excitement when we arrived by car, ahead of the runners? The second I looked into those beaming faces, the 3.5 hour bus ride was instantly worth it. My nagging words of “Are we there yet?” The. Whole. Ride seemed painfully embarrassing compared to the children’s continuous shouts of “Where are they? Where are the runners? Where is Pak Jerome?” We waited for about 15 minutes before both Scott and Jerome made their grand entrance, all sweaty and if I am not mistaken – laughing in a heartfelt euphoria and surprise. We had fun. Breakfast continued with cleaning campaign, play games and challenges. Everything flowed as if it were just an event of a family visiting another relative after a long break. And in a way, it was.
I talked to some of the girls at the orphanage and find out that one of them, Titin (12 years old) wants to be a marathon runner someday and just enrolled her to a national athletic championship. I did not miss a second to raise that story to Scott. “Scott! We have a future runner over here!” was the line that brought Scott stepping away from the crowd of new fans. He approached Titin who was trying so hard to hide her blushing face. They made a pact, immediately talking about their passion for running. And when Scott handed her one of his running caps, everyone in the compound clapped their hands and cheered. It was an immediate bond, for Scott and Titin, if I may say.
Rp23 million was raised by the management and staff of AYANA for Scott’s noble cause. And that was just a drop in the ocean; so far, Scott has raised 370.000 USD from his 1250km run from Bali to Jakarta. In addition to that, a girl’s dream found its affirmation. And a newbie cannot be anymore rest assured that she has met a new family.
Visit Scott’s blog to find out more about the cause or read Jerome’s thoughts about that day here.
I completed a 100km ultra marathon in November 2011. I was able to raise $3,400 and finally on January 9, 2012 I officially re-opened the library of the primary school of Seraya Barat, a small village in East Bali with 450 books on new shelving, 3 new windows, some seating arrangement for reading, and a big opening party with the 170 students being so excited!
I take this opportunity to thank all staff and guests who supported this project with generous donations and kind messages.
This is a small project that is changing the lives of 170 children of the poorest area of Bali. Once again, thank you all for the support.
I will keep you posted on my future running and fundraising projects…2012 will be an exciting year!
Jerome Colson, Food & Beverage Director
Hi everyone, my name is Mike O’Leary and I head up R.O.L.E Foundation. We were recently invited to partner with AYANA to hold the first ever ROLE Models Charity Dinner last month, and it was a success beyond the wildest dreams of the seven Balinese who joined this program.
These seven students, who have never had formal schooling and were illiterate before they joined R.O.L.E’s vocational training program, are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to getting jobs in Bali’s lucrative tourism industry. This program changed that, by giving them the opportunity to learn new skills and open new doors.
The dinner was held at Padi restaurant and marked the end of 10-weeks of hospitality training for our trainees, who were taught basic Food & Beverage skills by AYANA’s F&B team. The dinner was the culmination of their training sessions and was the first time they served guests. They were nervous, but as it turned out, they had no reason to be as they excelled on the night and impressed the 100+ guests who attended.
The dinner and silent auction raised Rp54,200,000 in cash support for R.O.L.E Foundation, but it was the skills development and job opportunities that have really changed lives.
Serving at this event, they were pure professionals and you could see them brimming with confidence and inspiration to change their lives for good. Two of them have been offered permanent positions with AYANA, and there were at least another four or five job other offers on the night from wine companies, hotels and restaurants. We’ve also got mad interest from other hotels to conduct their own training program with our students as a result of the successful AYANA ROLE Models dinner. Talk about a good result!
Congratulations to the trainees and the trainers alike, and we look forward to continuing our partnership to fight poverty.
When he is not managing the 12 dining and bar outlets spread out across AYANA, Food & Beverage Executive Jerome Colson has a very peculiar idea of fun: running ultra-marathons in balmy tropical heat. The Belgian native and father-of-two just joined the Sundown Marathon held on 28 May in Singapore, where he finished in the top 3% with a time just over 4 hours, coming 249th? overall (and 34th in his division) out of 7388 runners in total. An impressive result for a ‘hobby’ runner. The race was part of his training for the ‘real’ event: the 2011 Ultra Trail Marathon in Sabah, Malaysia, covering 100km. We asked Jerome about his motivation and preparations for the race, and the charity he is raising money for, R.O.L.E Foundation, which is supported by AYANA. (The resort is hosting a charity dinner for R.O.L.E this August, where guests will be served by disadvantaged Balinese who have completed 10-weeks of hospitality training with AYANA’s F&B team, as part of a vocational skills program aimed at securing long-term employment. For more information on this event, visit AYANA’s website
Why are you taking part in this race?
There is no such race in Indonesia. Malaysia is close by. I have done many marathons, trails, ultra trails and stage races but never did a 100km trail race. It’s just a new challenge that I can tick off my list.
What training are you doing?
I never really stop running. Training for a 100km race is not much different than for a full marathon. I average 50-70kms per week and for this occasion I have added a couple of hours of cycling. The danger is fatigue and injury caused by ‘over-training’. In the past two months I have also completed a 55km trail(2500m positive ascent) and a full marathon.
Are you on any special diet?
Not really, just reducing alcohol consumption, a lot of carbs, fresh fruits and trying to stay away from fried food. In the days before the race I eat a lot of pasta!
When you do these races, is there any point when you feel that you can not go on, and if so, how do you challenge your body’s limits to finish?
I think it happens to everyone running anything over a full marathon distance. I do not think it is your body that has limits, it is usually mentally that it is most challenging. The minute your mind starts doubting that you can complete the race, you start feeling pain. It is usually very difficult on these long distances as you very often find yourself running alone. An ultra marathon can only be completed if you are mentally prepared.
Why did you choose R.O.L.E Foundation as your charity?
I happen to know about R.O.L.E as they are established in the Bukit area, where I live and train five days a week. For me, associating the completion of this challenging race with fundraising brings another meaning to the personal achievement. I am very fortunate to work in a luxury environment and every run I do around the Bukit, it brings me back to the reality: the daily life of the majority of the Balinese who have very little and who need support to have the opportunity to be educated and eventually qualify for a career in a 5* luxury hotel.
How can guests donate?
At the Front Desk or at the website www.accrorun.be.
At 21, Made Sekarini (Sekar) had never set foot outside of Bali, did not have a passport and had never stayed at a hotel or even been on holiday. So when she was told that she’d been selected as AYANA’s Top Achiever for 2010 and had won an all-expenses-paid trip to Hong Kong, it was a dream come true. It was also proof that determination and hard work can overcome every obstacle to pull a young girl out of the rice fields and into a promising career in the hotel industry. Here is her inspiring story, as recorded with the help of a translator.
My name is Sekarini, my friends call me Sekar. My parents are rice farmers in North Bali, in the former capital, Singaraja, around 3.5 hours by road from AYANA. The views are beautiful but there are not many opportunities for work outside of farming, in my village. Rice farmers make barely enough to eat and clothe themselves, and my parents struggled to educate me and my four younger brothers.
After High School, my parents couldn’t afford to send me to university but my uncle in Denpasar offered to sponsor my education. I left my home and moved south to live with him. I worked hard and finished top of my class, graduating with a Diploma in Tourism.
I joined AYANA on an apprenticeship as a guest relations staff member. I loved the job and meeting all of our guests, helping them in any way I could. I was promoted to a full-time permanent position in October 2010, as a hostess at Ocean Beach Pool and Kisik Restaurant.
I was very surprised a couple of months later, when I received the news that management had selected me as AYANA’s Top Achiever. I was just working, doing my job to assist our guests in any way possible. I did not consider myself any better than anybody else working at AYANA, but I guess I am just more lucky.
When Pak Charles and Ibu Cynthia (General Manager and Human Resources Director) told me I was going to Hong Kong, I thought they were kidding, I didn’t believe it. I was so happy. This was my first trip out of Indonesia, even out of Bali. I had never been on an aeroplane before or stayed in a hotel. I loved it.
I spent three nights at a luxury 700-room high-rise hotel in Hong Kong. With a local guide, I went to Disney Land and met Mickey Mouse and rode a roller-coaster, went shopping at the markets and did a day trip to Macau to see the temples and casino resorts.
I had never seen such tall buildings like in Hong Kong and the weather was quite cold. No snow but cold. There were so many businesspeople and not many motorcycles, mostly cars and buses. It was very interesting but this experience made me realize how lucky we are in Bali.
I am hoping my next trip will be to Japan. I can speak, read and write Japanese. But first, I want to go back to university part-time using the money I have saved from working at AYANA, to get a higher level Diploma.
I never had a dream like this before because I could never afford it and my parents have to support my four younger brothers. But now I believe anything is possible. Thank you very much to AYANA guests, because they make my job very rewarding and are so kind to me. I feel very lucky.