When I joined Wicked Diving Komodo in October, two female Dive guides were on the verge of getting certified. Intan, from the nearby village of Warloka (a former trading post, and home to unique 4,000 yr old megaliths) and Mersi from Bajawa (amazing traditional villages and the only matriarchal culture on Flores).
I remember when the girls had to do their swim test, “flying colours” is not a term which I would use. But they got through it.
Since March these two ladies have been working on our Komodo Liveaboard. We started off small with following other guides, observing group control, and communication with our broadly international guests. With support from our liveaboard team came the growth of confidence. Two weeks into the season both of them jokingly jumped of the boat, I was ready to assist… It was unnecessary though; laughing, splashing water and swimming against currents no problem!
Both now have their own style in giving our guest a dive briefing. Intan uses her ‘innocence’ to the max and Mersi just dances through it. Day by day, step by step we all learn, with each other and from each other. They are sharing their love of the oceans and their amazing country, while they learn all about the faraway places our guests come from. These girls make me proud, they are strong individual woman, who had to convince their families of their dreams. The worked hard, studied hard and earned a position on our team.
The culture in Flores is one that’s male dominated, where woman don’t typically get pushed to succeed and provide for themselves. With this in mind we have purposely selected four young woman last year to join our Wicked Good program training program for a sustainable community development. This program has now trained dozens of people from Flores and the surrounding areas. the program grows and develops each year. Like our students we are also always learning, and have recently implemented an administrative training section to our program. Aside from administration, the team also received training in sales, organisation and of course diving.
One year later three of the team working in the tourism industry. Lastry works in one of the resorts in Labuan Bajo and aspires to become an accountant. Mersi and Intan both work on the liveaboard and wear their role with pride. Both have full time jobs and provide for themselves and their family.
The guest love them, and so do we!
When you book a Wicked Diving trip, 2% of the total revenue goes towards this non-profit foundation. When you dive with us, you help make the world a better place!