“HIV is a big problem in Likoma and Chizumulu because fishermen generate money and prostitution”
Name : Beatrice Elizabeth Banda Chikoti
Gender : Female
DoB : 24.07.1981
City of Birth : Likoma, Malawi
Status : Married since 2001
Family : 3 children, Aged 3, 7 and 11
Hometown : Likoma, Malawi
Education : Secondary School
Job : Entrepreneur – Shop of shoes and kitchenware
Religion : Anglican
Politics : –
As a child… How would you picture yourself at 30?
JOB – How did you decide to do this job? I remember that time, when I was a child I saw some women working as a secretary, typing in front of their machine, and I was thinking « If It was me… ». Now I own a shop and that is a good deal, because It brings me money. It was quite easy to set up, because you didn’t need a lot of investment and just a small surface.
It was not an arranged wedding! I did choose my husband that I knew him from the time I went to school in Likoma.
HOME / PLACE OF LIVING – Where you thought we would be living by now? When I was a little girl, I imagined I would live in the mainland (Bantyre or Lilongwe) because that is where the standard of living is higher, especially in the south of the country. I am mow living in my home island, Likoma and I am happy with it. I came back when my father was sick – he died 2 months after – and I am now living close to my mother and most of my family.
Beatrice spending some time in her living room with her youngest son.
Beatrice lives in a three bedroom house surrounded by a lush vegetation on the island of Likoma.
Striking and memorable events…
IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE – What are the most memorable event of your personal life? The most memorable event is the day I got married, on the 29th November of 2001 in Chizumulu (the island next to Likoma). That day means a lot to me: when my father passed away, relatives helped my family and I a lot and they advise dme to get married in order to live a better life. But it was not an arranged wedding! I did choose my husband that I knew him from the time I went to school in Likoma.
IN THE WORLD – What are the main events that stroke the world you are living in? I was so delighted when the former president of Malawi died. His reign lasted for 7 years, and the two last years were a disaster. He spent a lot of public money, our currency got devaluated… I was happy because his death allowed us to hope for a political change.
BEST MEMORY – What is your best memory? Definitely, finishing my MsC at school without being pregnant, like many of my friends were… That was really important because it enabled me to finish school and settle my life as I wanted: my job, my husband and my family.
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT – I am proud of my children and my family, I am just happy to have them. Its god’s gift and that’s wonderful.
Looking back / Reviewing expectations
10 YEARS AGO… I thought that, by the time I would be 30, I would have had more money and had hope in the future. I wasn’t working when I was 20 and I just wanted to get an employed job. I have always wanted to have a job and not be a housewife.
When my first child was 7 months, my husband got a job at the National Library so we moved to Likoma. I knew I would probably live there for the rest of my life because it is really a good job for him as he is a civil servant.
TODAY… I have my own shop and I enjoy it. Nevertheless, economy on Likoma island is not at his best. The economy is driven by fishing but the last few seasons catches were not so good, … unfortunately it does not help the sales in my store. Fortunately, my husband is able to help me with the activity – he buys the goods that we sell here in the island as he goes to the mainland (Nkata Bay) once a month to collect is paycheck at the bank. Twice a year, I go with him because sometimes I really want to choose what I sell.
Beatrice owns a small shop of shoes and kitchenware at Likoma’s market since 2012.
Beatrice’s favorite place is this beach, located few a few minute from her place where a music festival is held every year.
30 years old, a turning point?
WHAT’S NEW? – Did you notice some changes since you are 30 YO? My way of thinking changed, before I think I was childish compared to now. I am an assumed grown-up (smiles). I am not alone anymore, I have a family and I have to make concessions…
I am an assumed grown-up (smiles). I am not alone anymore, I have a family and I have to make concessions…
OLD OR YOUNG? – Do you feel « old » or « still young »? I am oId… because 30 is a lot of years… I have 3 chidren already, the oldest is 11. That is almost as if the next generation was already there… It seems like my life is already settled and won’t deviate much from what it is now in the future.
CHANGES OR REGRETS? What are the things you would like to change? Maybe if I would have worked harder in school I would have been able to get an employed job… as a secretary for instance (smiles)
My Typical day
YOUR STORY IN 10 YEARS – What is the story you want to tell within 10 years? On the professional ground, 2 options are ahead: either my shop gets bigger or I will get a real job (employed job, as a teacher for instance). On the personal ground, I don’t want more children because I want to be able to make everything I can for them, in order to make them progress as far as possible at school.
THE WORLD IN 10 YEARS – How do you imagine the world you will be living in within 10 years? I think that in 10 to 20 years from now Malawi will be much more developed. Our current president is encouraging the mining industry with precious stones. I hope those actions will work and bring some foreign investments enabling the country to develop. One more challenge ahead for us is the exploitation of oil in Lake Malawi. We will see what we manage to do on this matter.
Fears and Dreams…
FEARS – What are you afraid of? I fear deadly diseases such as AIDS and breast cancer. HIV is a big problem in Likoma and Chizumulu because fishermen generate money and prostitution. I am also afraid of lacking of fresh and drinkable water. In Malawi, lot of children died because of the unclean water they drink.
ACHIEVEMENTS – What are the things you want to achieve? I surely want to accomplish 2 things before the end of my life : Get a real job and send my children to school.
DREAMS – What is your craziest dreams? Realize my dream job and become a secretary… I can easily picture myself… Working in an office and typing on a computer!