While I was in Khartoum in August, and we were travelling through town, my husband pointed out the barber (yes, a proper male barber, not a men's hair stylist) he goes to. He also mentioned that I would easily find a lady hairdresser when I needed to have my hair done.
Shortly after I returned in January, I mailed Lynda (Tanzania) and told her I would be looking for a hairdresser in Khartoum. She gave me a wonderful tip. She said I should get my husband to photograph my hair from all angles while it was newly done by my hairdresser. He did and we printed the photos for when I needed them.
At the same time, I asked our supermarket manager about a lady's hairsalon. We communicate in Dutch which is very similar to Afrikaans - one of the eleven official languages in South Africa- and get along just fine. He told me that Ona was the best in town. He gave my husband the directions and once we'd loaded our groceries in the vehicle we headed up the road to find the salon. We turned off into a side street, as per the manager's instructions, up another side street, when we came across sign he'd told us to look out for.
My husband waited in the vehicle while I entered the gate on which Ona's Beauty Center sign was displayed. Although the building looked very deserted , I knew that I would find her salon inside. That is Africa: expect the unexpected in the most unusual places.
I mounted the steps and on the second landing a sign in Arabic and English pointing along the floor to Ona's Beauty Center.
The passage was very dark, but I managed to locate a heavy ornate door with my cell phone flashlight. I knocked and heard what was obviously "Come in" in Arabic.
Once inside, I saw that this was a professional hair and beauty salon. I gesticulated to a lady who was busy with a client, that I needed an appointment in three week's time. The client could speak a little English and relayed my message to the hairdresser.
She walked over to the reception desk, told me (through the client) to "come anytime" She also gave me a business card.
Last week I phoned the number on the card and got Ona (I found out subsequently that the lady I saw in the hairdresser was not Ona but her assistant) She made an appointment for me at 9am on Wednesday.
I was pleasantly surprised when Ona met me at the door of the salon that morning. She has studied cosmetology in the USA; she and her husband lived there for eight years so Ona spoke perfect English. She also assured me that she had many clients from the Embassies who had short hair like mine.
I showed her my photos and she set to work. Soon she and the lady (an assistant) I'd met three weeks earlier, were pulling strands of hair through the plastic cap fitted to my head. The colour took a quarter of the time that it did at home, (she explained why, but I've forgotten -lol!) but the haircutting session took about forty minutes. She seemed nervous to be cutting anyone's hair as short as I had requested.
By the time my two hours were up, she had blow-dried my hair (she used a flat comb, next month I'll take my round brush) added a little mousse and I was done.
If anyone in Khartoum is reading my blog, I can definitely recommend Ona's Beauty Center for hairstyling. She also does acrylic nails, facials, bridal make-up and henna for Muslim women's fingernails.
Ona wanted photos of my hairstyle for her album