Tz school girls are required to wear their hair very short. It becomes a milestone for them when they graduate from Secondary school and can allow their hair to grow longer. With this comes the freedom to have their hair braided, styled, extensions added. This is something our girls really look forward to. Meanwhile, during the term the SEGA girls have established a competent hairdresser to ensure they meet school requirements and that their hair is kept short!
Mariam, Form 2, is one of our resident hairdresser and is happy to share her talent. She is skilled in holding the comb with a razor blade several millimetres from the comb’s edge to ensure an even shave is given. It is equivalent to what we would describe as a #2 or #3 shave!! She then draws the comb/blade across the scalp in a smooth sweep resulting in a very professional finish.
I was fascinated to watch the process as the girls lined up for their hairstyle howeve,r I declined the offer of a free sitting!! I am sure the Non Formal girls would not be pleased if I shaved my hair off (together with a few other significant people in my life I suspect!!)! As I travel to school each day on the bus, my hair blows freely in the wind. The windows are always open unless it is pouring rain! To stop my hair getting too damaged by the elements, I would gather my long locks into one strand, twist it around and hold it over my shoulder until we arrived at school or until I couldn’t be bothered to hold it anymore! Since earlier this year, I have had 3 or 4 girls vie for the chance to hold my hair for me in a similar manner!! They love to touch and stroke my hair as it is so different from their own. To hold it is certainly an honor! I am now very used to this scenario however it took a bit of getting used to (observance of personal space doesn’t seem to be relevant here in Tz...) so I try to continue my conversations (the bus such a wonderful classroom for the girls to practice English and me to learn Swahili!!) without noticing the inconvenience. I gratefully accept and thank the girls’ for their thoughtfulness!

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