Sweat drips from my head, the afternoon sun burns my pale skin
Little shade is available, the trees cultivated in the creation of the village. Their presence not considered when the kraal was constructed
What little shade exists has been used for the past 2 days. Children squabbled & complained that their mothers had given them the sun
There was an important job at hand. Luckily for all involved the job is almost done
Every 6 weeks females sit for a hair replacement, Twakara the villages beautician the hairdresser of choice.
Her handy work & detail is what the women want, Twakara just wants to gossip.
First the old cracked ochre is carefully peeled from the hair, ever carefully trying not to rip out a natural strand.
Himba women don't have much hair. What you see is largely synthetic fibres manufactured in China & bought in Angola
The long black fuzzy bobs fan from the ochre, cast inside they are tied to the tiny clumps of the women's own hair
Once the crust is removed the natural hair, bound with ochre stained twine or plastic strands. These strands repurposed from the evil plastic carry bag.
The new entwined twine, plastic, hair & synthetic strands give the impression Himba women are blessed with hair, it is not so
This initial removal process takes a day & drains both hairdresser & client
No rest days are allowed as lapses in time will brings the previous day's work undone
The following day the process goes on regardless of the baking sun.
Painstakingly the Ochre is crushed, mixed & reapplied with detail & care.
It's smoothed down & allowed to cure. Another day dissapears in the process
Finally the women will stand. Their knees sore from sitting, butts numb from the rocky ground but relieved that the job is done. That is at least for another 6 weeks.