Zulmira

 

I am faithful by nature. During years I thought I wasn’t, but then I learned that my conservative ways make me like that. When I found quality I tend to stick by, knowing how difficult is to find or replace it.

 

I was recently remembered of my faithfulness because of my hairdressers. I have three ladies associated with my hair. The first one is a Londoner cutting my hair for almost fifteen years now. Such long-term contact developed into a kind of friendship. I have a second London expatriated hairdresser cutting my fringe. She is very friendly by nature and I also know her for nearly fifteen years.

 

I guess they came to Mozambique invited by a group of British hairdressers expelled from Zimbabwe by the controversial Mugabe. Five years ago, the first group of hairdressers returned to original Scotland or started a new life in South Africa, while the ladies liked it here and stayed. Despite the ups and downs of this society, they are both perfectly integrated in this African way of life. The 2000 boom brought to Mozambique a new wave of hairdressers, mainly Portuguese, but I guess my British hairdressers are still the best ones around.

 

I can’t close this faithfulness statement without telling about Zulmira, the Inhambane lady washing my hair for eleven years. In terms of touching my hair, I am very particular and she is the only one I trust.

 

Our relationship had a high point when I decided to subject myself to a scalp exam. I was at the Hyde Park shopping centre, when I saw the sign of free scalp exams. I even convinced Paul of doing one too. When it was my turn, the institute lady was giving information about the images on the screen.

 

“Well,” she began, “here you have an eczema, on the left side.” After explaining what eczema is and how to deal with it, she started to walk the small end of the gadget up and down my scalp, while exclaiming various times in admiration. Both Paul and I curiously asked the reason for such surprise.

 

“How long ago have you washed your hair?” she inquired.

 

“Three days ago, in Maputo…” I replied.

 

“Amazing. In years of doing the same exam, I’ve never seen such clean scalp. Truly amazing. It looks like you washed it right now, and even so it had to be a special wash.” And then, turning to Paul, she added: “You must be very proud.”

 

I don’t know about Paul, but I was. I remembered that Paul was a bit like “Aren’t you exaggerating?”, because she felt the need to show us the difference between clean and unclean scalps on the TV screen – and let me tell you that unclean scalps are not pleasant to see.

 

I remembered to feel more grateful to Zulmira than anything else. When I returned, I kissed the deserving lady and told her about the compliments. She is still washing my hair, but not in a weakly base as she used to, when the saloon was uptown. Meanwhile, I learned to be a Zulmira too. I like to wash my own hair. In summer, it’s particularly refreshing to feel the cleanness and freshness. In winter, washing it at home is always a good excuse to sit a bit under the sun.

 

As I have a normal to dry hair, I just have to wash it once a week. But if you are hygiene concerned, as it is evident I am, you can only rely on weekly washing if you really care about hairbrushes and pillow covers, cleaning and changing them frequently – preferably once or twice a week. Someone like Zulmira can do marvels, but no one can substitute your investment in your own health.

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