By Emmanuel Omona PaOkech
Francis Kilama 35, a resident of Pabbo sub County in Amuru district despite being criticized by fellow men for being the only male hairdresser in Amuru district, has never lost hope.
Kilama, who begun braiding and weaving women’s hair since 2010 has been able to look after his wife and children.
“When I completed my Ordinary level, I lacked money to study further”. “I found my wife Pauline Ayet and we got married”, Kilama explained.
However after getting married, life was not easy due to limited finances.
One day, Kilama had a talk with his wife and he told her about his dream of becoming a male Hair dresser in the sub County.
His wife Ayet did not hesitate since they were living under harsh conditions.
Ayet cautioned her husband and prepared him some snacks such as simsim paste and roasted some ground nuts with salt, and wished him well as he went to study hair dressing.
Ayet promised to look after their only daughter well until her husband Kilama returned home on holidays.
Kilama left Amuru district and traveled to Gulu District where he enrolled in a hairdressing class in Good Samaritan, a training institute for youth in Gulu district.
Kilama learnt braiding, weaving and other hair dressing styles.
“When I came back home after studies, my wife was happy and the first hair style I made on her to show her that I still love her”, Kilama explained.
When Kilama started operating his saloon, there were few women coming to him because most of the women feared their hair being worked on by a man.
None of them had seen a man braiding or weaving a woman’s hair.
Some of the few women who were bold enough to have their hairs worked on by Kilama were warned never to return to Kilama’s saloon.
“Some of them were even accused of sleeping with me in the saloon, but I stood strong and continued my business”, Kilama explained.
Strange enough, some of the women who visited Kilama in his Saloon wanted Kilama to fall in love with them and Kilama to work on their hair for free a challenge he has overcome with strong principles now.
“Even though I was always focused on my business, I promised never to fall in love with any of my customers because I know I may spoil my business”, Kilama said.
After a year, Kilama’s customers grew bigger and now he braids over 4 people per day from his saloon.
He has also employed more 3 women whom he has trained and they help him in the saloon.
Kilama earns between shs 40,000-50,000 per day especially over weekends.