Intro to Mozambique

6 Nov

I woke up feeling ROUGH this morning!  Last night I did a bit of writing then went to a last-minute dinner with an old UVA classmate, Addison!  I hadn’t seen him in years, so it was nice to catch up.

I went home later and canceled plans to see Desiree because I was exhausted, but then around midnight another friend said “hey I’ll stop by to say bye!” Then it was “I could go for a milkshake” and before I knew it I was out at a nearby bar shooting the breeze until 2:30am!  We had such a good time just hanging out and talking.  I love conversations like that, you don’t want them to end.  But end they must, and those marathon chats are not so smart when you need to be up around 7am.

My morning consisted of finishing packing, breakfast and then trying to drop hints tomy host that we must GO.  I was worried I didn’t have enough time, but he ensured me it was fine, so I chilled out a bit and in the end he was waiting for me!  I was nervous the whole car ride and if I had to do it again probably would have insisted he take me to the airport when I asked, not when he thought we should go.  If I want to be early, it’s my right.  A right I almost never exercise, but still my right.

I checked in and we stopped in Inhambane, then onwards to Vilanculos.  I was NOT AWARE we were making two stops, so I got off the plane when it landed and was in line for a visa, and then went “excuse me, I see all the bags you’ve taken off and mine still isn’t there.

Official: where are you supposed to get off?

Me: Vilanculos.

Official: That’s the next stop.

Well now it makes sense why this airport said INHAMBANE, but I am happy I asked, can you imagine???

In Vilanculos I had the most bizarre pick-up I’ve had all year.  When I came out of the terminal, I see this white woman I am pretty sure is from African Impact but she has no AI t-shirt on or sign with my name on it.  I make eye contact and she just looks at me blankly (or if I had to name it I’d call it a “why are you staring at me, I don’t know you, fool!”look) as though she is 100% sure I am not who she’s looking for.  So I walked a bit further down and waited, and nobody came to meet her.  I was only one of 5 people off the plane, so I kept looking at her and she saw me looking, but didn’t say anything, finally I walked over to her and said “are you with African Impact?” She goes “oh yes!”

UM.

I went “uh…normally they have a sign, I’m glad I came up and asked you!” *hint hint*.  She explained the driver had flaked and this was her first pickup, but wouldn’t you err on the side of going “Carielle?” or “are you with African Impact?” if the person you were waiting for hadn’t shown up and the only young woman that came out kept looking at you?? LOL.  She probably thought I was a local, most vols are white.  Anyway she was lovely after that, and we had a nice chat on the way to the accommodation, mostly about these nasty bugs that supposedly burrow into your feet when you walk on sand.  She has had 4 at one time!

The volunteer house is large with a thatched roof, there’s a downstairs area where we eat meals together.  Across the road is a resort with two pools (whoohoo) and the beach is a short walk from there!

The volunteers live in a thatched roof bungalow that has electricity and running water, but it is tight!  Definitely feels like we’re all squeezed in there, but thank goodness for me I’m in a bedroom in the back with a closed door.  Another volunteer comes on Tuesday, but at least I’ll have 2 days of some privacy, which is nice after all this sharing.

I took a long nap and then had a delicious dinner at the restaurant next door with my new roommates, who are from England, Japan, Australia, and the Netherlands.  We had a nice chat, but I was bummed to hear they’ve been kind of warned about going out at night as a group of girls to local places.  A woman was raped recently and as bad as I feel for her, I think that it is often the case that foreigners hear something, start telling easch other a place is “dangerous,” then suddenly nobody wants to leave the flipping house.  It’s not that deep, folks.  Be smart, be careful, but live your life.

So far so good, orientation tomorrow.  Pics coming soon, net access here is a bit iffy.  We’re supposed to pay 50 met here per 30 MINUTES and not supposed to download or upload anything.  Considering how much it is to go on these projects (and count me out of the mix because obv I’m sponsored), that seems a bit unreasonable.  Better to just add $30 or so each and give people unlimited access to the net.

Brazilian Keratin Treatment on the Incognifro

5 Nov

So I went to the Share salon in Campus Square in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.  A very nice “colored” lady (still so weird to use that word) here did my hair, her name is Fiona.

I had a 10:30am appointment and was worried about getting to meet my friends for plans at noon, but Fiona said she should be done just after 12.

I was still a bit anxious because as a “colored” woman, Fiona’s hair is different from mine and I was concerned she might not know how to do my hair type.  Yes there are many “colored” people with hair like mine, but I didn’t know how much experience she’d had with that kind of hair, so I spent a good deal of time talking to her about how this would all work.  I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on this treatment and then have the results be imperceptible.  Fiona was definitely pushing the product she seemed to have a lot of faith in, but she also let me ask my questions *bless her* and answered them.  The product was Brazilian Cacau Keratin Treatment by CADIVUE

Heads up: This was TIME CONSUMING! When she’d said it would only take an hour and a half something about that math wasn’t making sense, but I thought “what the hey, I’ve really been struggling with my hair and need to figure something out,” so I proceeded.

Step 1, Cleanse) Fiona washed my hair with a special cleansing shampoo to strip out any build-up.

Step 2, Apply) I went onto a chair out on the floor where Fiona and another woman put on gloves and used applicator brushes to begin applying the keratin treatment to my hair and combing it through individual sections.  The treatment did tingle on one section of my scalp, but never burned (after years of relaxers, I could appreciate that).

My only complaint so far was that I felt they could have been more gentle with the combing, it felt like some of my hair was ripping off!

Step 3, Dry) Next, Fiona blowdried my hair.  I was concerned because the blowdry was without a comb or brush, which normally leaves my hair really hard! This was no different.  So far, I was worried.

Fiona had warned me the fumes might be bad, which was confusing, as this treatment supposedly doesn’t have formaldehyde in it (a big concern for me).  Sure enough, at one point my eyes and nose did get a bit irritated, but that was very short-lived and not as major as I’ve heard it is with other products.  I think the experience is much worse for the hairdresser, as poor Fiona was tearing up at this point.

Step 4, flat-iron)  Fiona made small sections and ironed each piece a few times.  She wanted to get as close to the root as possible, but sometimes it hurt! Overall, it was a painless process.  Well physically painless, but time? PAINSTAKINGLY SLOW! Note: she did this at 350 degrees, not the 400 I’d read is standard.  I was concerned, but she said it was fine and that each product is different.

Note: At this point, I was NOT impressed! My hair was straight after the flat-iron, but felt really coarse, not at all smooth.

Step 5, condition) Once she finished she rinsed my hair, used the conditioner that comes with the system, and then put another deep conditioning treatment on my hair and had me sit under the dryer for quite some time.  I didn’t mind because I wanted to make sure my hair got softer, like I said, at this point I was not impressed!

After the wash I did notice my curl was a LOT looser, almost disturbingly so.  Aside from the occasional ringlet, it looked wavy, NOT CURLY.  Kind of like a body wave.  I think they were surprised when I asked if some of the curl would come back, because the lady who washed my hair told me quite triumphantly that they probably wouldn’t.  Hm.  Maybe it’ll revert a bit after I wash it.

Step 6, Blow-Out) Fiona blow-dried my hair with a round brush and it took WAY less time than it normally does, which is what I wanted, so that was a good sign.  She then flat-ironed it and even trimmed the ends, which was nice of her.

During this process, her white coworkers kept coming over saying how nice and soft it was, with things like “can you believe your hair??” “it’s so nice!” “did you ever think you’d get it this straight?”  I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I finally did say “well my hair gets this straight when my hairdresser does it at home,” and one woman replied “yes but the drying time is less,” and she was absolutely right.

I was getting a bit bothered by all this anti-curl talk, but I guess people expect you to want to get rid of them if you come in for that kind of treatment!  The lady who washed my hair even went “where are your curls now!?” again, a bit too triumphantly.  In light of all the congratulations at getting rid of my God-given curl, I felt the need to defend my guys and went, “well I hope some comes back!” The lady said “you love your curls?” and unable to hold it in anymore I said-probably with a bit too much conviction-“Yes I do!” Wow, kind of like the overwhelming need to defend your annoying little brother when somebody else talks mess about him.

Verdict: So far, so good.  In the end my hair was straight, shiny, and did move.  My hair feels a bit thicker and stronger, which is nice, but it’s a bit ironic it doesn’t feel as silky as it normally does with a natural salon blow-out at home, but maybe that’s because the keratin bulks up the hair shaft.  I am curious to see how it is when I wash it myself.  I need to make sure to find a sulfate-free shampoo, as they say shampoos with sulfates will strip the product from your hair faster.

Funny note: Upon arrival, I had warned Fiona about my incognifro telling her that  it was blown straight, but that she should be prepared for it to blow up once wet.  After she’d done my hair she went:

“I saw your hair when you came in…and then it got wet, I couldn’t believe it…I know you told me.” Yes I did!  LOL! Well good on you for sticking it out, Fiona!

Cost: 1300 rand, which is about $162 USD

Time: 3.5 hours.

Final note: I don’t understand too much of this “curl pattern” talk, but if I had to describe it, my hair is somewhere between a 3c and a 4a.  It is very fine and when it is wet, there are a lot of corkscrews at the ends, though much of it is really spongey in sections, not separated curls.  I think this is important to mention because I don’t think the BKT may give the same on all black hair types (for example I wonder what would happen with hair people describe as “cottony”) and I’d hate for anyone to waste their money!  If you want your hair really really straight this is probably not for you.

Oh wait, one more thing: I’ve mentioned “my hairdresser at home” so it’s time to give a shout out to Julia at d’Clenis salon in Harlem, New York, NY, U.S.A.  I love that woman.  Doesn’t speak a lick of English but she is a doll and will hook you up).  The salon is on the northeast corner of 120th and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, Phone number is: (212) 866-0903

Hope School

27 Oct

Douglas (R) and Freesia (L)

I went to Hope School today

12 Sep