Daniel tells his version of the Maliba lodge fire. He has been employed from the very beginning and witnessed first hand, our vision of building a 5 star resort within the wilderness of Lesotho. He experienced the difficulties and frustrations of building in the early years, to becoming a world class lodge and all the benefits it has brought to the local community. Cruelly the fire destroyed a lot and has set the whole community back but in his own words describes what happened and what is the next chapter of Maliba Lodge. A testament to the resilience to the people involved.
Destruction of the lodge:
It was on the 24/07/2013/ Wednesday and the lodge was 50% booked by local and international guests. However, it is likely that after dinner the manager on duty has to lock the lodge. So, likewise that day, the duty manager locked at around 10:00pm. The general manager heard a bursting sound and opening the window recognised that lodge was on massive fire. It was around 00:30am, 25/07/2013.
Immediately, he woke up guests and staff for help and evacuation, lodge was already on big fatal fire and as hot as a furnace. Guests evacuated and drove away while staff were trying to save what they could have saved but not to put fire off because it was strong! Unfortunately, we couldn’t save the building apart from the back of house stores and laundry. No one knows what started fire and how and when did it start.!!!!
Everything melted because the whole main lodge was destroyed by that fire. We protected the six chalets, so they didn’t catch fire and they are still in good condition. How terrible to lose a job unexpectedly! Everybody was worried! To be honest about 60% jobs could have been lost instantly! But everybody`s job were safe because the owners didn’t give up, but instead, they planned to rebuild it again and go back to operation with the same number staff on construction.
Rebuilding of the lodge
Everybody cleared the mess because everything was scattered all over. Men were brick laying, plastering, plumbing, thatching, wiring and installation and other jobs. Ladies were cleaning, thinning of thatch (spraying) and also collecting it from the village. Because it was too busy, there were also casuals from the local villages to help in different jobs. So, we pushed even harder until we finish half part of the lodge.
On the 20/09/2013, the lodge started to operate because the offices, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, stores and dinning tent were ready to operate. Management split staff in to two groups. Some dealing with guests while some are still concentrating on the construction.
Also, there is a big building called conference centre and it`s nearby the main lodge still under the construction. Most of the men are busy working there. The directors plan is to finish by mid November and surely we will be there.
After the conclusion of conference centre, we are going to transfer the lodge`s operations to it and concentrate on main lodge and hopefully this will be by the beginning of January 2014.
We are looking forward for Maliba and it`s employees success.
Read part 3 – Maliba Lodge – Rise from the Ashes
|Read Part 1 – Fire destroys Maliba main area||Read Part 3 – Rise from the Ashes|