I celebrated my birthday on Pulau Pef this week. What an experience! I knew it was probably going to be special as we often celebrate birthdays the 'Pef way'.
It started with our usual staff meeting at 8am. I got a beautiful card signed by the entire management and senior staff with personal wishes, followed by a ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Selamat Ulang Tahun’ (Happy Birthday in Indonesian) performed by the entire team. When the meeting was over, each and everyone came to shake my hand or hug me to wish me a happy birthday, a ceremony we do for every birthday, even though many of our employees feel a little shy to touch, let alone hug a stranger. But nobody is forced to hug anyone, a handshake is fine too. Normally, the birthday girl/guy also gets a bucket of cold water poured on his/her head, which is supposed to bring good luck. But somehow, they spared me the wet part. I guess they thought I was lucky enough to still be alive at such an advanced age…
In the evening, we had our Tuesday event called ‘Happy Sunset’ – cocktail and finger food offered by the resort for everyone, all accompanied by the Pef band’s island tunes. This was the perfect party setting, Including the gorgeous sunset! Instead of the regular glass of fruit cocktail, I was offered an entire coconut full of alcohol – challenge accepted!
Later on, there was cake (chocolate, what else?!), candles and more Happy Birthday singing. And I received a crown, beautifully made of palm leaves by one of our resort assistants (she comes from Bali and is a true artist when it comes to decorations), as well as a palm leaf skirt. I felt like a queen! There was more hugging, singing, laughing and dancing. But there was more – I also got a very sweet gift: a bottle full of little letters with birthday message from the entire staff! I was overwhelmed by so much attention after only being here a little over 3 months.
This is exactly what makes Pulau Pef and Raja4Divers so special – we’re family (thanks for this line, Vin Diesel!). You might say it’s normal to feel close, since we all live on this remote island together. I agree, but it’s much more than that. We care about and take care of each other. Some more than others, and don’t think it’s all harmony and no arguments! But as much effort as we put into detail when it comes to the resort and its decorations, as much attention goes into our “human resources”, our employees. We try to make them feel part of the family and proud to work here. It sometimes feels like having teenagers that think they are very grown up, but still need a lot of guidance. But, just like with children, it pays off to invest time and attention, as they will give it back to you with commitment, joy and hopefully endurance.
I chose to work for Raja4Divers because I immediately felt that this place was different from any other I had worked at before. This feeling of being welcomed, of belonging and of being valued for what you do, was very strong from the first moment I set foot on Pef, when I came as a guest to find out if I could live here. I couldn’t work for any other resort in this area, it simply wouldn't be the Pef family!
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…