I’ve had a bit too much of politics at close hand this week, so here’s an update on my ongoing beautification in Juba. Now I’m back in the capital, there’s no excuse not to go to my favourite nail artist, Joseph, in Souk Libya (next to the pharmacy in the centre). Joseph has upgraded his stool-and-basket to a full on nail bar!
Tag Archives: nail art
A gold version of the ‘Juba French,’ invented by Joseph, nail artist in Souk Libya, Juba, South Sudan.
As I have (repeatedly) noted, I live in a small concrete hut in a dusty suburb of Juba, with no electricity and an outside toilet with a bucket/hose shower. I have no fridge, no air conditioning, no fan, and our washing water is trucked in from the Nile: bugs, weird slimy leaves and all. I work in a shell of a building with no electricity for the fans. Despite the rains starting to dribble every two days or so – have been sweating through four months of dry season, where temperatures have been happily coasting at 40 degrees C in the shade.
So, it’s extremely hard to stay my usual beautiful, graceful self here. Unfortunately, I am entirely used to being glazed in sweat, which picks up a serious amount of blowing dust. My sporadic and extremely unskilled approach to makeup in the UK has not translated well here: things like lipstick or mascara just slide unhappily off my face. My hair has to cope with Nile water, direct sun, constant sweat and serious amounts of dust. Basically, if I am not visibly streaked with sweat and dirt, then I’m feeling pretty glam.
However! I have also developed some key extreme-weather “beauty” tips. (Beauty is in quote marks because these probably constitute basic sanitation and self-care more than Cosmo-level regimens.) So here follows my basic list of key tips for the cash-strapped, time-poor, electricity-deficient, overly-warm expat:
Juba working hours – at least for many of us – are six days a week, over 12 hours a day; so I prioritise my Saturday morning nail bar sessions. The nail bar, as I may have mentioned, is a wooden bench on the porch of a pharmacy in the middle of Souk Libya in Munuki, the suburb of Juba that I live in, just opposite the cucumber-and-stock-cube seller and along from the dried fish section.
Do you realise how hard it is to get a pedicure on Christmas Eve in Juba? Even with my regular nail artists, Joseph and Jimmy, in Souk Libya, and several back-up salons, it took me three hours of waiting to get my vital festive nail varnish.
This isn’t frivolous (much). The beauty industry in Juba has stepped up a notch this last week as people prepare themselves for the festive season.
The nail art industry in Juba is booming. Run entirely by men – I haven’t yet seen a woman doing manicure/pedicure work – working out of salons or wandering the streets with a small box of lotions and polishes, door-to-door, you can get a relatively good mani-pedi for ten bob a pair here. I am addicted.