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Meet the Burma market beautician!

Reader's Lounge By Marie Mulli
Dancan Ochieng at Burma Market: Photo; Courtesy

Dancan Ochieng is a man on a mission - to beautify the women who work at Burma market.

The 29-year-old beautician is passionate about his trade which puts food on his young family’s table.


I start my work at 10am after the women have finished most of the day’s work.

Today, I arrived at Purity Njeri’s stall, which is always spotless.

The Burma market women I work on are not your typical mama mboga – unkempt hair, soiled clothes and rough mannerism– they are fashionable, like Purity who wears the trendiest clothes and her hair is always immaculately done.

Once at her stall, I immediately removed my tools of trade and gave her a pedicure. This is something I have been doing for the last eight years and I love it.

My love affair with the beauty industry started at an early age. I grew up with eight sisters, who like any typical young girl, went to great lengths to make themselves look pretty. Sometimes, I would help them spruce up. Later, some of them set up salons and I saw women paying to be made-up.

It was then I realized that I could forge a career doing this work and I joined Mesora Unity College in Buru Buru. After my studies, I went to work in a salon at Umoja market where I spent most of my time idle, so I quit and begun to freelance.

My initial clients were a few city council employees and when the market women saw their manicured nails, they too became customers. That’s how my popularity has grown, based purely on my craftsmanship, and today it is practically impossible for me to just walk through Burma market.

My clients either get a pedicure or manicure each for a hundred bob and they prefer to have me work with them because most do not have time to go to the salon.

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