Last week I realized that all women, all over the world, care a lot about their hair. Whether they’re getting it dyed, cut, curled, permed, moisturized, pleated (braided) or straightened, women spend countless hours of their lives tending to their hair. However, it seems to me that we want what we can’t have. For instance, I wish my hair were curly, like Alan’s, but not as crazy :) Curly-haired women want straight hair, blonds want dark hair, brunettes lighten theirs, and many of the girls at the college want my hair.
Let me explain. Once a month, sometimes once a week the girls go down to the market and spend hours in the salon getting their hair in tight pleats. Others spend an hour getting it washed and straightened. If they didn’t their hair could be sticking straight up into the air completely unmanageable. Now I admit to both curling and straightening my hair, whenever the mood strikes me, but if I had to spend an hour doing either one I would go insane.
When I came here I left my straightener, curler, conditioner and hair-dryer at home! The only hair product I have now is shampoo and up until a couple months ago I had a cold shower. In Kenya, if you want a hot shower and you live in the bush, you have to install a shower head called Lorenzetti (it heats up the water directly before it comes out of the shower head). When we arrived here there was one installed, but it didn’t work. After a few weeks of thinking we could last two years taking cold showers we finally bought a replacement and Alan proceeded to install it. That was a more daunting task than either of us had imagined. Long story short, two weeks later we had hot showers!
In the morning, after my run, I wash my hair, towel-dry it and put it in a half ponytail. Sometimes I wish I had all my accessories with me, but most of the time I’m grateful to have hair that I don’t even have to brush if I don’t want to. To some extent I can understand why the girls at the college would be envious, but to their advantage, they don’t need to wash their hair more than once every three weeks… how nice would that be?!
It’s no shock to me that you always want what you don’t or can’t have and knowing this is helping me appreciate some things I used to take for granted. Being a brunette isn’t so bad, and at least we have water and electricity! But, for now I need to stop writing because at the moment the power is out and my laptop is about to die…