So, I clearly have a thing for fashion. I really just love it. All the colors, styles, prints, AND you get to accessorize!
I'm sure some of you may be wondering what a fashion loving woman like myself does when living in a place like Juba, Sudan which makes Nairobi look like Paris in terms of fashion (and I can assure you that Nairobi, while climbing the ranks, ain't there yet). Well, I tell ya, it ain't easy!
The main look among aid workers is basically some version of sloppy, especially if you are in a field office (i.e. Kapoeta or some version of the sticks) rather than in the main offices of Juba where some attempt at looking put together is generally required. It's actually funny because most of our Sudanese staff look much more pulled together compared to the international staff. We actually have one Sudanese guy who insists on where a turtle-neck and a gleaming white blazer to work despite normal temperatures that far exceed turtle-neck weather! Another Sudanese guy (who grew up in Uganda) basically walks around looking like he stepped out of a GQ magazine spread.
When I was packing to come to Sudan, I knew that comfort would be essential but still had to pact a few nice pieces. Plus I knew that I could easily get nice pieces when I traveled which took the pressure off bringing everything nice. In December, I went to Nairobi and raided my friend's closet and get a few new tops that have helped push me along. My recent trip to Kampala also found me at Owino's - a huge outdoor market that sells clothes from the west - and I got a few skirts and tops. So in addition to these basic pieces, I have a few nice earrings, necklaces, 3 belts, and several scarves that I mix and match with everything to ensure I look some version of 'put together' when I walk out of my house/tukul.
When I'm here, I definitely try to look as best as I can given my limited resources. It really just makes me feel better to know that I'm putting my best face forward no matter where I am. It is also encouraging that my good friend in Kapoeta basically always looks hot....she totally has the 'there is no reason for me not to look fan-tabulous everyday even though I live in the bush' attitude that is just inspiration for me (and even at my best, I look like plain Jane compared to her cause I just can't do the whole make-up thing...I come to a complete stop after my Kiehl's lip balm!)
When I go to Nairobi (or Kampala), I immediately (i.e. last time the cab drove me directly from airport to salon) get my eyebrows threaded and the rest of me waxed. Then it is straight for a hair cut and pedicure. Once that is accomplished, I literally feel 60% closer to myself. I bust out the clothes that I've either left in Nairobi (because in the hands of the cleaning lady here they would be useless after one wear) or just don't wear here, throw on something that isn't my Chaco (love it though I do), put on a touch of make-up and I feel 100% BRANDIE again!!
Anyway...considering how long it's been since I was in Kampala, I'm SOOO counting down the days till I am back in Nairobi, then London, then New York!!!
Okay - enough blabbing one day...hope you enjoy your day wherever you are!