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    Semester four has arrived after a well-deserved week off for the students at Bushwise. Some traveled to the far corners of our beautiful country. From the coastal areas of Kosi Bay to Kimberley and even the mighty Kruger National Park itself.

    With everyone back safely and rejuvenated, Monday started off with a bang and a mock FGASA exam was written. To put the rest of their skills and knowledge to the test, students had to complete their practical tests. Wednesday morning started off by identifying various clicks, grunts and croaks of frog calls. There after picture identifications of various butterflies, beetles, spiders, scorpions and snakes were completed.SlidesA two day hospitality course was the highlight of the week and students were introduced to the finer touches expected from a professional field guide. Students were split into three teams and each team had a variety of duties to complete.

    The first activity allowed some creative juices to flow. Each team had to set up a drink and snacks table. Each team worked together with great enthusiasm and competition between teams was rife.

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    The next task for the students was to set up a dinner table for 2 guests. Everyone learned about various table set ups, depending on what culinary creations the chef would prepare for the evening. Dinner table etiquette was also discussed as it may be expected from a field guide to dine with guests from time to time.

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    The proper welcoming of guests to a lodge is a crucial function. Students were taught to familiarize themselves with the arriving guests, confirm expected time of arrivals (and possible airport transfers) and prepare welcome drinks and refresher towels.

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    Students also performed some conflict management role playing exercises to prepare them for some possible front of house scenarios. This made for some great entertainment as certain characters stepped up to the stage and let all hell break loose at the reception desk.

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    Having requested the aircon to be set to 16 degrees Celsius, a disgruntled “guest” arrives at his room only to find that the aircon wasn’t switched on at all. The “manager” tries to respond empathetically that he understands the guest’s distress. The “guest” is surprised to find that the manager has also requested a room to be cooled to 16 degrees Celsius and no air-conditioning was activated. A red faced “manager” had to quickly rethink his wording with this “guest”.

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    Awkward and inappropriate guest behavior was also dealt with. A “guest” tries to make advances on the innocent and unwilling “receptionist”. Without fueling the fire, she decides to rather have nothing to do with it.

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    The unfortunate “guest” can’t have anything go right for him. He was taking an afternoon nap in his room when all of a sudden he was woken up by an army of ants crawling all over him. Due to recent droughts, these ants have made their way into the lodge. Worst of all…the “guest” is also allergic to ants and also any of the poisonous chemicals used to usually get rid of the ants. The “receptionist” has to keep her cool, defuse the situation and try and provide the “guest” with an alternative solution.

    The week came to a good end with a very informative introduction to wine and food pairing. Students were presented with a selection of white and red wines. Sensory stimulating foods ranging from citrus to chocolate to spicy rocket leaves were included in the tasting. The goal was to experience how different the same wine can taste when paired with different foods.

    Having thoroughly enjoyed the experience and team bonding exercises, students are starting to feel the pressure of the final FGASA Level 1 exam lurking ever nearer. With only a week to go, all the knowledge and experience gained from various game drives, bush walks and research will have to be put down to paper.

    Blog & pictures by Cal Butler

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