In the Times of Oman on the front page an article with the title ‘Young career women defy traditions’ took my attention.
“ Young, educated women are now defying the traditions and social briefs by leaving their hometowns and moving to the capital to shape out lucrative careers” “….In the Sultanate of Oman, like in other GCC states, women are often sidestepped and expected to get married early so that they can raise their own families – letting the men in their lives place a plate of food on the table. However it’s fast changing now for women living in rural areas. They believe that years of hard work at school and college cannot be simply wasted by staying home doing nothing…..”“…Big cities like Muscat offer opportunities that often turn dreams into reality and these young ladies may want to delay marriage for a while until they carve out successful careers….”
“Leila” in Salalah, Dhofar is for me an example of a young woman who realizes that building a career not only makes her financially independent , but gives her the ability to help provide for her now aging parents.
23 years ago her mother started her own business selling incense and perfumes in the soukh inside the Al Hishn Palace where the current leader Sultan Qaboos was born. It took her 9 year to learn to understand the world of the frankincense, which is still the backbone of a beautiful trail in the southern part of the Sultanate. Now about 18 years she has her own shop in the incense soukh and another one in the Museum of the Frankincense Land.
Surrounded by incense, self made perfumes and body lotions Leila guides you through her wonderful world of smells. Stories of her own experience are mixed with knowledge about frankincense, myrrh, perfumes, and sandalwood. Nowadays women like the smell of sandalwood mixed with a maximum of seven different perfumes. Men are more fond of the smell of sandalwood from Cambodia mixed with only two or three perfumes with an end note of oudh. During her talk, like a magician, she opens little boxes made from glass or imitation gold full of wonderful smells. Leila also exports to Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, even Africa. “Business is good for me”, she admits. “I love it.”