Totally unrelated to postcards and stamps post….

… but I just want to share anyway.

My younger sister has just returned to the Philippines after a one year assignment with the Voluntary Services Organisation. For 13 months, she worked with the Lukore Farmer’s Cooperative in Mombasa, Kenya. For the whole duration of her assignment, she lived in the local community, spoke the local language, ate local food, drank local beer, and… get ready for this -  wore her hair like local women do!



She was really interested on having her hair done like the local women’s, and one Saturday when she has nothing to do, she walked in to a local beauty salon to complete her African experience. Some of her co-volunteers actually warned her that corn-braiding is a painful experience but she didn’t feel any pain at all. Little did she know that one of the most unforgettable African experiences she has would happen a day after her visit to the local salon.

Shampooing (or even wetting the hair), the local beautician told her, is a no-no when you have a braided hairstyle. But she did anyway.

   The shampoo wasn’t rinsed off completely, and it became flakes when it dried. These flakes plus the dust, combined with oil in her hair, made her scalp flaky. Eeeeeew! The nights were very uncomfortable she was crying – her scalp was extremely itchy! Corn-rows are supposed to be worn for a long time, but my sister had hers for only 4 days! *lol* The itching was really unbearable. After her braids were undone, this is how she looked like:

Her son was so surprised to see his mum on the webcam looking like this – with “big-big” hair like a witch’s! He was worried his mum has suddenly gotten “tambok” (fat).

It was hysterical – my own mother laughed so hard tears came running down her face when she saw her on webcam, too. My sister’s hair obviously made her face look bigger than it really is. And, of course, my brothers were teasing here. The taunts range from her big hair, to her big face, anything big and went on to ask questions like, are diet pills safe there in Mombasa and if so she better have some pronto. Otherwise, they teased her, her son wouldn’t go near her at all.

My sister said it was fun and a good learning experience for her… and one good effect of her corn-row hairstyle was the compliments she received from the elder women in the community. I think braided or having a corn-row hairstyle is cool. I, myself, would love to have my hair done like that if only I could find one in Phnom Penh who knows how to do so. Summer is here and this is the hairstyle I want to have to beat the heat.  How about you?

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