Ruth Chitsiga: Flying the Zimbabwe flag high at Emirates
The 26-year-old’s career has really taken off since she joined the world’s largest airline as a member of their cabin crew nearly two years ago, looking after passengers in economy class.
Finding her calling has also allowed her to pursue her passion for travel.
“I love my job and I see it as a great opportunity. Emirates is a fantastic airline. Wherever I go, whenever I mention them, people step back a little bit. The highlight obviously is the travelling. We have so many destinations to choose from. So far, I have been to about 30 countries. You can have breakfast in Melbourne and lunch in Auckland. Not a lot of people can say that, can they? So that is definitely the highlight,” she said.
Growing up with her mother, who is an accountant, and her sister Christina, a teacher, in Zimbabwe’s capital, the former Dominican Convent High School pupil had set her sights on becoming a forensic scientist and studied at Rhodes University across the border in South Africa.
“That’s why I did the microbiology and biochemistry so I could become a forensic scientist. Somewhere along the line though I realised that if I ever had a case that I couldn’t solve, it would bug me for the rest of my life and I decided that it wasn’t the route for me,” Ruth said. A stint as a scientist at a drinks company wasn’t her cup of tea, as she explained: “I just realised, I did not like that I had to go to work in overalls and safety shoes and the routine was the same every single day. I couldn’t handle it. That’s when Emirates happened. I didn’t want to be lost in the crowd.”
Ruth’s family plays a huge part in her life and they were overjoyed when she passed the airline’s rigorous recruitment process after a friend coaxed her to apply and follow an interest she had first shown as a girl in working for an airline.
“My grandmother is my number one fan to be honest. When she first saw me in my Emirates uniform, she couldn’t believe it. For her generation, flying is still a big thing. So she broke down. She was in tears. And my mother too – they were so delighted for me,” she said.
“I really work extra hard to make my grandmother proud as much as I can. Even when I said I was living to Dubai, I had to show her on the map. A lot of people know it as Dubai but it’s in the United Arab Emirates so I had to point it out to her.”
Of the more than 150 destinations Emirates flies to, South East Asia holds a particular fascination for Ruth with Vietnam her favourite current country to visit as she is drawn to its special culture and cuisine.
“For a long time, I liked Bangkok, but recently I went to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and at the moment I think that has taken over because they have a lot. They still have most of their culture preserved. I like that. It was very different from what I was expecting. It’s different from what I’m used to and I enjoy that too. I like to look at the history, the culture, the food. You have to try the food when you go to these places. It starts with the food. That’s what I like,” she said.
Ruth also believes Dubai has a lot to offer visitors, with much to see and do: “It is a hive of activity. There is always something to do. Shopping is a second nature for everyone that lives there.”
Dubai’s beautiful beaches with their warm clear water, as well as the amazing desert also offer ‘sandy’ adventures with safaris and other activities available.
But it is not just all about the glamour of international travel for the multi-talented Ruth, who represented Zimbabwe in hockey at Under-21 level, for she takes her work very seriously too and is trained for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft duty.
“It’s so much more than being about serving tea and coffee. The priority is safety, that is the first thing on board. That’s why we are there. After that, obviously service, passengers’ comfort is crucially important too. And there is a lot happening at any given point,” she explained. Ruth, who can speak Arabic, Mandarin and French, encourages other young women to follow her path and consider a career with Emirates.
”You should give it a go,” she said. “We are well taken care of. Everything is catered for. You have an allowance when you get to any destination to use to go around. It’s your chance to dress up every day and your runway is at 37,000 feet. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? You get to see the world and interact with different people.”
Emirate’s young and environmentally friendly fleet comprise entirely wide-body aircraft – largely the popular Boeing 777 and 71 iconic Airbus A380 aircraft. EK 713 departs Dubai every day at 09:30hrs, arriving in Harare at 17:15hrs after a 1hr 30m stopover in Lusaka. The return flight leaves Harare at 19:00hrs and lands in Dubai at 06:40hrs the next day, again after a after a 1hr 30m stopover in Lusaka.
For full terms and conditions, and for bookings, please contact your travel agent.
Visit www.emirates.com/zw or visit the Emirates office at 18 Wakefield Road, Avondale, Harare. For reservations, ticketing and other inquiries, the Emirates call centre number is +263 86 7704 4444.
The official Emirates career website is at www.emiratesgroupcareers.com.