Entering our neighbourhood,Omdurman, last Saturday, my husband said he'd just thought of a place which might sell needles and cotton. As we drove past one of the spaza shops in our street, he pointed to it and said: "That is where you will find your sewing requirements" I need to clarify here: just as I'm not a handywoman (one who changes car tyres, replaces electric plugs, hangs pictures on walls) neither am I a needlewoman. At school I took science as a subject instead of Housecraft, because of the sewing involved. Planning my wedding way back in 1972, I suddenly had the urge to make my own wedding dress. Everybody, including the bridegroom-to-be collectively held their breath. They all predicted (incorrectly, as it turned out) that I'd be sewing the gown's hem minutes before walking down the aisle. I must admit, I was still embroidering little pearls onto a six-foot train the night before my wedding, but I finished it in time for the wedding. That was the first and last time I sewed any garment. However, I have fixed hems and secured loose shirt buttons. This is why I need a housewife here in the flat.
Before I continue with my mission to find a housewife in Khartoum, I need to tell you about my latest acquisition: an abaya. (Pictured above)Because I subscribe to really casual wear at home (knee-length khaki shorts, tee shirt and flip-flops) it's impossible for me, in this country, to just pop downstairs into our courtyard or across the street to the shop. Until now, when I went out, I'd change into a long skirt and wrap a hijab (headscarf) around my head. I don my sunglasses and I'm ready for the outdoors. But it's been a schlepp. Now I can slip my abaya over my house-wear, wrap a black hijab (a gift from dear friend Fazila, back home in South Africa) over my head and neck and viola!
On Saturday afternoon, I donned my [new] traditional street wear, picked up my purse and set off up the road to the spaza shop. When I arrived at the very well-stocked and set-up spaza shop, I greeted the owner and showed him the little sewing kit and it's contents. He nodded and pulled out a whole box of needles in little grey packets. When I gestured that I'd also like some cotton, he reached into the glass-topped counter and pulled out a box filled with cotton of every hue. I chose a black one and a khaki one. When he'd placed all three the items on the counter, I asked him "Kham hada" and he held up two fingers. SDG2/US$.80c. Amazing! He had no buttons but my husband assures me that I'll find them at the Souq market. He's taking me there this Friday as a birthday treat. Whoohoo!