A shop keeping job is the least many young people would think of end up doing.
But in a nation where jobs are scarce and opportunities rare, few would avoid ending up being a shop keeper.
Juanita Joewen, 26, of Kilusakwalo village in central Kwara’ae, Malaita, dreamt of getting a better job than standing behind the counter eight hours a day.
But in 2009 when she dropped out of Kilusakwalo Community High School at the end of her fifth form, her plans to further her education came to a standstill.
“I was stuck in the village,” she said.
“I could not go out anywhere so the only place for me is with my parents at home,” Juanita said.
She said she remained in the village until 2013 when she decided to look for a job in the nearby provincial capital of Auki.
“Auki is a small place so you don’t expect many jobs out there.
“However, when I approached DL Shop, which is owned by a local, they offered me a job as a shop keeper.
“To me, this is not what I’ve been dreaming of but when the opportunities out there are very limited, this is all you can settle for,” she said behind the rack of clothes that are being sold at the shop.
“Shop keeping is a tiring job. You stand behind the counter eight hours a day attending to customers.
“But what else can I do to earn an income?
“The wages is small, but young people like me have no other choice.
“I just have to make do with this job and the small salary it offers,” Juanita said.
However, she said it’s better than being unemployed and doing nothing.
This is Juanita’s third year at JD shop.
She said because her bosses are good to her, she’s enjoying her work.
“The thing is I just have to accept the situation now because it’s better than doing nothing at all.
“Furthermore, the job offers me a small salary that I can use to meet my personal needs as well as support my family.
“Over the last three years, I’ve learned to be content with life and what it offers me.
“We need to know that sometimes that’s how life treats us. We just have to accept it and do our best with what life offers.”
Juanita encourages girls who may be in her situation to keep going.
“Whether you end up a shop keeper, rubbish collector or any other lower jobs, do it with all your heart.
“Learn to be content and you can still be a happy person despite the kind of job you hold.”
By LESLEY SANGA