By Femin John, VP Business Development & Solutions – APAC, Gautier Vandomme, VP of Asia Pacific & Julia Hamdan, Financial Controller.
When a team of 32 Atemians descended on a small fishing village in Phuket Island’s Rawai beach, on the afternoon of June 23rd, they were not there to soak up the sun or splash in the sea. They were delivering groceries.
The reason was simple. We did not want to have the typical team-building activity: go-kart races and an evening out. We wanted to do something fun together AND have an impact.
Rawai beach seemed the perfect place to do that.
On any given year, most of the people you meet on this beautiful beach do not live there. Hordes of tourists sprawl on the sun-scorched sands. But the last two years have been different. With Covid spreading and restrictions raging, the tourists have been scarce. And the small fishing village on these sands has been bereft of its main source of income. Poverty has set in, affecting the so-called “gypsy villagers” – the natives of these beaches, so called because they used to live in boats and move from one beach to the other.
So four teams of eight Atemians per team went grocery shopping. Each team had a list of typical prices for various kinds of groceries, and the challenge was to optimize spending to be able to give more to the villagers – which we all did. We filled our carts, packed the groceries into “care packages” which filled four typical local “song-thaew” buses, and off we went to distribute groceries to the locals.
Thanks to our clever spending, we also managed to buy a printer and toners to replace the village community’s super-old, broken-down printer.
The result? Happy islanders, who expressed their warm gratitude for the help.
And happy Atemians, who fueled their adrenaline while packing their groceries, built team spirit and cohesion, and felt they had done a good deed.
But while it feels good to help, it is of course better if there is no need for help. With covid restrictions now dwindling, we hope the tourists will soon be back – and the need for such actions in Rawai will be a thing of the past!