Ojok Charles Osimbo
Charles originally joined Elephante because he liked the name. “But now, I want to get more knowledge of food production across a variety of departments so that when I open my hotel or restaurant or supermarket, I’ll know what to do.” The café is not run like a typical Ugandan restaurant either; their managers, Agnes and Ronald, are happy and easy-going, active in problem-solving, and guide the staff without threats or abuse. When someone makes a mistake on an order, they correct it and move on while continuing to hold the staff to high standards. In Charles’ opinion, other restaurants should adopt Elephante’s model of human resource management, and seeing it operate successfully, gives hope to the working community in Gulu.
As an organization, Elephante is innovative in other ways too. “We provide social benefit to the community, like our program for kids living on the street,” he says proudly, referring to Elephante’s ongoing partnership with Hashtag Gulu.
In the café, making dishes from other cultures can challenge people’s lifestyles and mindsets, changing and revitalizing basic standards of living. Elephante’s value of creative and innovative food production is new for most people in northern Uganda. “For example, people here aren’t used to eating raw tomatoes, but salsa is a delicious food to eat,” he says matter-of-factly. “I like being in the kitchen and being part of that change.”