Monday, November 15, 2010

Threat Level: High

One of my biggest goals for my Peace Corps service is not getting a weave. They hurt, look ridiculous on toubabs, and I've already lost enough hair do to the one-two punch of malaria drugs and poor nutrition. I've tried every possible excuse: I'm scared it will hurt too much, my scalp is so white that it will scare the children in the street if I get braids, and the plain old "hellz no." I'm more than willing to do everything else that my sisters want for holidays. I let them pick out the fabric for my outfits and dress me, make me up in ridiculous make-up, and even drag me around to visit their friends as they ignore me. What I am not willing to do is have my hair braided and/or get a weave. Most Senegalese women lament about their lack of hair and how their hair falls out: it's because they braid it so tight all the time. I refuse.

I refuse is an interesting concept here in Senegal. There's an actual physical/ visual signal for telling someone you refuse. In the United States we would call this movement the Chicken Dance. I'm not kidding. To signal that you refuse, you literally give one arm pump of the Chicken Dance. If you're Ahmed then you actually do several pumps and make a pouty face. I walked around the house today attempting to avoid all females who were all armed with weaves and needles and if I did run into them I quickly gave them the "I refuse signal," and high tailed it the opposite direction. I'm hoping that tomorrow (the day before Tabaski) will be so busy and full with preparations that my lack of braids/ weave will go unnoticed or at least no one will have enough energy to trap me and physically force me to undergo the procedure: this is a serious concern of mine right now.

Attempting to avoid all things related to hair today was difficult because there's absolutely nothing else to do. Some shops are already closed down for the holiday and when I call people to see if they want to do a little work I get laughed at so I'm resigned to being bored for the rest of the week and attempting to get everything for Artisan Expo done while I hide out in my room.

I was not peed on today or yesterday for that matter!


  1. Needles?!!!!! Why are needles involved with a hair weave? Geeeeesh! Threat level red! Run!!!

  2. Alyssa,

    You know a weave started Bo Derek's career in 10, all you would then need is five or six inches of height.


  3. Alyssa, just so you know...I kinda want to help your family conspire to get you into some braids. Jackie and I have done it, its time that you, Tamar and KO discover the fun. Ha.

  4. i want to see this 'I refuse' gesture when you get back to the states....just don't use it in response to me offering you some strawberry hill or melon ball.

    : )