I am in Chirimba, a slum location in Blantyre Malawi’s commercial hub. I am visiting a friend, Prisca Masauli, in her forties, is busy while waiting for customers. She sells cooked sweet potatoes and plastic packed maize flour.
“I’m selling cooked sweet potatoes and plastic packed maize flour. It’s been nine years now that I’m doing this business. I have six children who are all going to school. “
It is 6 pm, residents of the location and other visitors go to her display to taste what she is offering. Prisca rushes to satisfy them.
Next to it is a Chitetezo stove of bright charcoal on which is placed a pan containing simmering Kazinga oil. On the fire, zibwente (boiled, fried irish potatoes) are in full cooking that serve as an accompaniment to the cooked sweet potatoes and plastic packed maize flour.
It is a business led by most women in this neighborhood. While at nightfall, the other vendors find themselves in the dark with the only lighting of the smoking lanterns, Prisca Masauli enjoys the light beam generated by the solar lamp under which she has establish her location.
It is a metal post that rests on a concrete base. This public lighting device, about three meters long, is topped with a solar panel that powers it. For Prisca installed here for a year, the choice of this site is not random:
“Since I settled under this lamp, I make more profit because this solar slope enlightens me. Added to this is the way I maintain my display. All this attracts customers who stop even if they are in their cars.”
Before I was at Mbayani making K2, 000 one night. But since I have been here, I’m doing at least 6 or K10, 000 a night and I’m happy. “
Benefits that allow her to support her husband in the household expenses:
“Speaking of the burden of children, these benefits allow me to help my husband, employed as a guard a construction company, I pay for their schooling. I’m in charge of their breakfast and their clothes. I also take care of myself and thank God.
When the night taxi engine breaks down, this street lamp allows them to stop to repair their motorcycle. Which brings me a lot of customers?”