I am always astounded at just how enterprising people are in Africa.
It's pretty hard to make a living in most places in the world but somehow some entrepreneurial people manage.
The very thought of looking for curtains in Addis Ababa, would daunt most people but our charming driver Sammi knew exactly where to go.
The suburb was probably not Addis at its worst but it was still pretty bad. Shanties, shops, mud and sewage all merged into one and my heart was in my mouth when, clutching my handbag tightly under my arm, Sammi introduced me to Teklu the Curtain Maker.
Teklu's tailoring business was probably the size of my bathroom, his ancient treadle Singer sewing machine took up most of the square meterage, and the rest of the area comprised bolts of garish fabrics, reminiscent of the costumes in the play 'Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves' .... Brilliant sateen florals in puces, limes, magentas and violets were Mordecai's choice of curtains material, certainly not what I had in mind!!
But 'needs must' as the old saying goes and this entrepreneur had it all in hand. Seating me on a tiny stool the size of a mushroom, he threw his all into enticing me to buy his exotic finished drapes. Having established the size of my window, he produced an enticing lime green and gold sateen set with splodges of mauve thrown in for good measure!! But as usual I was in a hurry to finish my project and a pair of curtains was sewn right under my very eyes in a matter of minutes.
That old Singer was virtually red hot, as he sewed on rufflette tape at a hundred miles and hour, hems and edging in a flash while I waited, there they were in all their breath taking beauty, not twenty minutes after I had walked into his tiny salon.!!
Very few Birr changed hands and we were both delighted at our purchase, I wonder how many weeks I would have waited to get curtains custom-made in a First World establishment