Oldapash Kishoyian – On Top of the World

Q. Tell us a little about yourself….

A. My name is Benson, or Oldapash, and I am from Narok in a place called Mao Forest. I have just been promoted to the role of Assistant Manager at Saruni Samburu, in Northern Kenya.

Q. What was your first job at Saruni and what did the journey to your current position look like?

A. My first job was as a waiter in 2003 in the first of the Saruni lodges, Saruni Mara. I was then promoted to Head Waiter in 2006. I came to Saruni in Samburu in 2008 when the (2nd) lodge was being built. I was Head Waiter until 2021, when I got promoted to Assistant Manager. The journey for me has been a dream come true.

Q. What challenges did you encounter on your journey?

A. Coming to Samburu and adapting to the new environment and hot weather. Also, leaving my home and family and learning the new local language. Meeting new people with different habits and also meeting guests with different cultures compared to mine was not always easy. Sometimes it has been difficult to talk with clients who don’t speak English.  

Q. If someone were to make a movie about your career, what would the title be?

A. “God Must Be Crazy”.

Q. What do you like most about your current role?

A. It’s quite a big role, where everybody comes with different problems and at the end of the day, I am the one who has to solve them. Also, I am a Brand Ambassador, the one who represents Saruni, especially with our international guests.

Q. What helps you relax after a long day at work? 

A. When guests sit around at the end of the evening in Saruni Samburu and I share with them my knowledge of cosmos overhead with my laser torch! Stargazing is my absolute passion.

Q. What makes you proud to be part of the Saruni family?

A. The name Saruni means “a place where you take refuge” and I feel proud that guests come and feel that tranquility here.

Q. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

A. A giraffe, it’s graceful and it’s taller than any other animal around.

Q. What skills do you think are needed to be a successful lodge manager?

A. Every day, day in day out, you need to be able to play your role and handle challenges.

Q. What advice would you give to other people from local communities, who wish to become a lodge manager one day?

A. There is always an opportunity and room to grow if you work hard enough and believe in yourself.