The hold up at the saloon being me butting in front of all the customers to get my hair did. And I did!! Wow, these Ugandan women are brave… this thing hurts!
Hair Saloon. Yes. That is correct. This is not a typo. This was the name of our second site visit on our first day of project visits in Uganda on Monday 24 November. We stepped into a small open-front shop filled with about eight women and four small children. This was one of the vocational skills training/ apprenticeship success stories from the AWAKE Uganda program with the support of Iyolwa ADP.
The goal of these visits is to see the projects in action. We attend the businesses, community groups and sites to understand the need of the community and how the programs are working to benefit those in the area. I on the other hand, took it as an opportunity to get pampered. Man, did that back fire!
We suggested the idea of me getting my hair done as a bit of a laugh. The women were clearly busy with three customers in the shop getting their braids done. They said “sure, we can try.” Ok, this will be a fun picture, but we’ll pretend right? So I sit down and start chatting with the women and the next thing I know one of the young women is behind me and gathering strands of my hair together. The poor thing clearly underestimated the size of the task and the mass of my hair. She was giggling away and gave up in defeat. My hair is apparently a little strange in this part of the world and it was too difficult for her to manage. Tell me about it lady! I deal with this every morning! Eden, my fellow blogger, was finding this process highly amusing and was quietly confident in her decision not to take part in the braiding.
The more experienced woman, who appeared to be the leader of the group and key operator of the business, came over and helped out. She was nimble and skilled. She tugged at my hair and was twisting it up into a braid in no time. My eyes were filling with tears as I laughed it off but really; it was getting the old tear ducts going as she tightly gripped my mane of hair. Wow, how these women go through this regularly is beyond me. She did a lovely braid in my hair and then went back to her work… the thing that would actually earn her a living!
All jesting and joking aside, this was a lovely experience. To see these young women who may have come from backgrounds with little to no education, to now be able to have picked up a skill and be running a business. That is just so inspiring. We discussed operating hours, the business structure and how they have grown the business. As an entrepreneur myself and business, owner, it was a really special thing to learn about. I was so impressed with their ambition and tenacity. They were thriving here and were now planning for their futures.
This was a wonderful bonding experience amongst the Australian visitors and the women of this community. I wish them all the best in the future of their business and hope this program continues to grow with the support of World Vision so many others may receive the benefits of running a business.
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