Khartoum, Sudan

  • Date
  • 3 October 2000

Today I bought two long skirts – covering is a way of life here as it’s Islamic custom and the sun destroys any unprotected skin. I hired a taxi, driven by the tallest Sudanese I’ve seen, to take me to a tailor who cut off and hemmed both skirts for less than US$4. He robbed me (a local would have paid less than US$1) but I gave him a tip as the robbing-cost was still absurdly low. Sitting in an almost bottomless, rickety chair in the tiny, hot shop with a fan generating the only breeze in Khartoum, I felt such contentment. The tailor eyed the bottom of each skirt and cut the fabric without measuring as my mother painstakingly did when I was a little girl. The old man used an ancient foot-pedal sewing machine, which can’t possibly make it many more days.