Meet The Clouders – From Budgets to Bedouin Beauty
19.09.2023 | 5 min read
Welcome to our ‘Meet The Clouders’ series. Today, we’ll be talking to Ania Wójtowicz, who is 10Clouds’ Senior Financial Planning & Analysis Specialist. She’s been part of our Finance Team for 5 years. Outside of work, she runs a very exciting project – a Bedouin camp, set in the heart of the Wadi Rum Desert Reserve.
The flexibility of working at 10Clouds enables her to devote her energy to both. Let’s find out more about Ania’s passions, and discover the beauty of life off the grid.
At 10Clouds, you’re responsible for our financial planning and analysis. What does this involve?
My primary role at 10C involves overseeing various reporting processes, including monthly reporting of company performance, cash flow analysis, and project profitability assessment. Part of my responsibilities also entail managing our largest cost component, which is personnel expenditure, and monitoring our billability. In collaboration with our CFO, I am actively engaged in continuously refining our budget forecasts.
You’ve now been with us for more than 5 years. Why have you stayed so long and how has your role evolved?
One of the key reasons I've been a part of 10Clouds for over five years now is the incredible team I'm fortunate to work with. While each of us has our designated roles and responsibilities, we always support one another and learn from each other.
I've had a tangible impact on reshaping the company's financial processes over the years, and I’m really satisfied with that.
I also appreciate the flexibility of working at 10Clouds which allows me to help run the camp. Instead of wasting my time in traffic jams I optimize processes of booking, sharing information with Hillal and guests. Thanks to that many things are not manual so it doesn’t take much time. I am happy that I can connect these two worlds.
How did the idea for the Wadi Rum Camp originate?
It all started by sheer chance during my private trip to Jordan with my brother and mum. It was a gift for my mum’s 70th birthday. She could choose any destination and she just so happened to choose this one.
Hillal was our guide through the desert, and we loved the experience so much that we passed his contact details to a friend who was visiting Wadi Rum two days after us. This kept us in touch. After some time, back in Poland, Hillal asked if I could support him with email communication with tourists. I agreed and got to know the ins and outs of the Bedouin business from the inside. The cooperation went well, and then came the proposal to build a new camp together on the land Hillal inherited from his father.
What challenges did you have when you were setting up the camp and what did you learn?
These were the beginnings of mass tourism from Poland to Jordan (Ryanair launched a new direct flight from Warsaw to Amman, the capital of Jordan), so it was the perfect timing.
Everything was going great until COVID hit, and everything came to a halt for almost 1.5 years. This was a very tough time, especially for the residents of Wadi Rum, who rely 100% on tourism. But somehow, we survived and continue to operate!
For my friend Hillal, preserving the camp's existence was the most important thing. While he had the option to sell it – a tempting prospect given the influx of bargain hunters at the time – his priority wasn't monetary gain; he wanted sustainability and livelihood. To weather the storm, he ventured into goat farming – which can be done even in the desert; in fact, it’s a practice passed down through generations, just like breeding camels.
Amid the pandemic, maintaining the camp's upkeep demanded a constant presence on-site, not only for regular sand cleaning but also as a safeguard against potential thieves. Consequently, we allocated a portion of our pre-pandemic earnings to compensate the caretaker, who took shifts alongside Hillal.
Additionally, we made sure we maintained regular communication with Hillal. He was worried about losing his English proficiency, a language he had acquired through years of interacting with tourists since his teenage years.
What would you say to anyone who would like to visit?
Come and join us! Wadi Rum Desert is a UNESCO reserve with a diverse landscape; it's not just a sandy desert but also includes mountains. This diversity allows for an interesting and active experience.
Our camp is located right in the heart of this reserve, 100% off-grid. We have solar power and water delivered by tankers for bathrooms. It consists of 8 standard tents with shared bathrooms and 4 with private bathrooms. The camp also has a large restaurant tent where meals are served, and where we spend time together listening to music and hearing Bedouin stories.
Every visitor to Wadi Rum is enchanted by the landscapes, tranquility, and the hospitality of the Bedouins, as well as the delicious traditional cuisine, the beautiful starry sky (there’s very little light pollution), and the break from civilization (no mobile signal). It's an excellent place for an internet detox.
What is most valuable and enchanting, and what guests often write about in their reviews, is the incredible Bedouin hospitality, the opportunity to get to know and immerse oneself in their culture and traditions, which they eagerly share during the time spent together, both in the camp and during jeep tours and treks. Many times, our guests have written that the days spent in Wadi Rum were among the most beautiful in their lives.
Thank you Ania.