Written by Stephanie Koathes

My Bonaire: Benazir Charles


Former Miss Bonaire (2010-2011) Benazir Charles might now live quite a bit further north these days in the Netherlands, but Bonaire will always be home. The beauty, who placed in the Top 15 at Miss Intercontinental 2010 and strutted onstage in the 2011 Miss World pageant, gives us a little peek at ‘her’ Bonaire.

Karko or kabrito? Karko.

What’s your favourite local dish to dig into and why?
My Favourite local dish is ‘piska ku funchi’, with a bunch of kriyoyo sauce on the funchi. I think it’s because I grew up eating ‘sopi di juana’ in a bottle when I was a baby, and from being around my aunt and grandmothers cooking and wanting to try everything.

You’re living in Holland now, but when you take a relaxing vacation back home in Bonaire, where do you head to?
The first place I go to when I arrive is the beach to feel the sand between my toes! I visit family, friends and my top four beaches on the island, that are: ‘No Name’ Beach on Klein Bonaire, Trapi (Bachelor’s Beach), Sorobon and Wayaka II. I also love scuba diving and climbing the Brandaris to enjoy the view and nature. Visiting my favourite restaurants is a must during my vacation, along with some drinks and music in good company to complete the day

If you had to recommend one place to a first time visitor, where would it be?
It would be Sorobon.

What’s the best restaurant you’ve eaten at on the island?
I don’t have a single favourite restaurant on the island, I have a few! Capriccio and Osaka (for sushi) are two of them.

Tell us your favourite traditional local dessert?
I’m not a dessert person, if you give me a bowl of fruit I’ll be happy. I have to choose, it would be Li, another childhood memory – Li di anasa or Li di pinda, yum!

Where do you get your hair styled? To Hair Duo “de kapper”.

When you’re in the island, what do you do to pamper yourself (mani-pedi, massage…etc) and where? For massages, facials and waxing I go to Yadira Rueda and for mani-pedi I go to Reina Prinsen (Princess Beauty Care).

Imagine you need a new outfit ASAP, where is the first place you’d go to shop?
The first place I used to go on the island before I went abroad to live was Benetton, but nowadays the store is closed and I haven’t really shopped on the island for the last 6 years. I always was a big fan of ordering clothes online.

Which local figure do you look up to?
A group of guys known for their smiles and windsurfing talents that are from our tiny little island, waving the Bonairian flag wherever they go in this world! I’m talking about Kiri Thode, Tonky Frans, Taty Frans, Amado Vrieswijk, Cheppi Gustowski and the others that I haven’t mentioned. I admire their strength, passion for their sport and determination to follow their dreams and make them come true every year, inspiring not only themselves but younger kids living on the island and around the world.

Which gym did you frequent when living in Bonaire?
I was sponsored by BonFysio Bonbida when I was Miss Bonaire, and after I kept going there.

Tutu or funchi?

As a child which game did you prefer, kak’i sconde or kiniki?
I prefer kak’i sconde, which in Bonaire it’s called tapa kara. We used to play it all the time and everywhere! As for kiniki/malbo/ninichi, I only collected them because I thought they were beautiful haha!

Apart from friends/family, what’s the one thing you miss the most about Bonaire?
The sea!

What three words would you use to describe the country?
Pure, serene and home!

What’s the best part of life in Bonaire?
Living in paradise and enjoying it to the fullest at the same time! Taking a few minutes when your busy working to just enjoy the view, breathe the fresh air, listen to singing birds in the morning and the sound of breaking waves… just the little things. Living in Europe made me realise that.


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