My African hairstyle

Upon my arrival in Kenya, I had entertained the thought of going to a salon here and have my hair in a corn-row hairstyle. I thought it’d be fun to sport this unique african hairstyle and at the same time help me keep cool during the hot summer season in Mombasa.

Luckily, this wish of mine came true just before my placement ended. One weekend, I went to see a local hairstylist in Lukore town and asked her if she could do my hair. I was thinking, I do not have the kind of most African hair does and was wondering if my straight hair would be able to hold the corn-row style. Of course, she took a good look of my hair, noticing it’s a bit wavy and not perfectly-straight as most Asian women have. She reckoned that with my slightly wavy  hair, braiding it would be easier. And with that she immediately sprang to action.  Less than two hours later…

What do you think?

I loved this hairstyle – it’s the cheapest hairstyle I’ve ever had, for only KSH150 (that’s Kenyan shillings), or less than US$2! It took only less than two hours for the stylist to finish. Contrary to other people’s experiences, I didn’t experience any pain at all from the pulling and, in fact, I fell asleep while my hair is being done. hahaha. It’s either I was too tired from the travel (from my area to Lukore town) or the stylist is an excellent braider and has a very light touch.  And I felt pleasantly lighter, too, with the bulk of my hair braided close to my scalp!

Of course, I was an instant celebrity when the farmers, especially the women, saw me. They were teasing me, alright, but the women loved the fact that my  hair was like them. They say I looked “smart”, and like a “true Kenyan woman”.   It became easier for me to approach them, I noticed, even those who were “unapproachable” the whole time I was working there. Had I known that my corn-rows would allow the locals to be comfortable with me and get them to talking to me, I would have done this right from the start of my assignment.  It felt good to be sort of “accepted” by them.

Now to those who want to know — yes, I did take showers but no shampooing. The first day I shampooed – bad idea. The lather wasn’t completely rinsed off and it flaked when dried. Then the itching started.  Terrible itching.  For three nights, I was crying out to the heavens asking for the itching to stop.

I know a lot of people wear their corn-rows for periods of time, but this is definitely not for me. The itching was unbearable (yes, the flakes caused the itching), so I had to undo the braids, much to the dismay of the locals. hahaha.  It was nice to have experienced this kind of hairstyle though =) I wonder how they, especially the women managed the itchiness though.

And this is how I look when it was undone after four days.  Needless to say, my son was worried about my “unusually big” hair when he saw this picture! *lol*

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