Women in the Wilderness Part 3: Dreaming with the Desert Rose

Apr 22, 2017 People of Wilderness
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Romansia flaunts her warm, infectious smile

Romansia Roman is not your usual camp waitress. Apart from her warm demeanour and friendly smile, she is an exceptional beauty with an intriguing history. Her grandmother was one of the very first Riemvasmakers to be sent to Namibia during the old Apartheid regime. Forced to settle in the barren environment of the Kunene Region, they had no choice but to make do with what they had, and eke out a living with the bare minimum.

A livestock kraal in the nearby Riemvasmaker community

But Desert Rose, as she baptised herself, is in her element in this harsh landscape. She proudly explains that she started her career at Damaraland Camp in the scullery department, but quickly progressed through the ranks to housekeeping. Very soon camp management realised that this was not her forte either, as she far preferred being around guests. She soon ended up as a waitress and bar-lady, a job she really enjoys because it allows her to interact with the guests.

“The best part of my job is that I’m able to share stories with visitors from all over the world. I love chatting to people and my mission is to make our guests happy. It is only when I see my guests smiling that I go to bed at peace.”

To top it all, difficult clients are her favourites. “We are taught to read our clients, and I feel proud when I can please a client with their favourite drink, snack or interesting story. I like to share facts that are unique to this area, things most have likely never heard of or experienced before.”

Rose is full of innovative ideas, and if life throws her melons, she turns them into a cocktail. It was in a ‘difficult situation’, where guests proclaimed they’d tried it all, that she invented her very own thirst-quencher, and dubbed it, of course, ‘The Desert Rose’. The cocktail comprises a mixture of secret ingredients, which changes shades according to the season. While Rose prefers to keep the recipe secret, she gives away that it is a refreshing, pink drink that will make any woman sway sweetly with the soft desert breeze.

Rose’s aspirations are far from over. She boasts proudly to our group of ‘Women in the Wilderness’ that she knows she has potential, and is certain that one day she will greet us as the general manager for Damaraland Camp.

Damaraland Camp – where Rose calls home

In the end, we all give in to trying out one of her famous desert refreshers, and go to bed smiling and at peace with being part of Desert Rose’s bigger ambitions. This is where her home is, this is where her heart is, and Romansia will continue to dream big and convert guests with her sweet charm.

Written and photographed by Marita van Rooyen

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