As A Child…

Every now and then I reflect on how my life was as I was growing up. I think knowing what I know now and going through some phases in life, there are things If I could I would go back and undo. Also, there are moments I would go back to relive. It is often said that it is never too late to rewrite history. I think my history will always remain as it was and what I can do is live this minute better than the last. Write it differently for the generation after me.
The other day I had an intensive conversation with a friend who grew up under very different circumstances and environment as compared to me. We talked more about our school days back when we were kids. The talk unraveled so many childhood memories I had. Some memories left me dumbfounded. That is when after a long time of procrastinating I decided to finally write this.

My friend couldn’t comprehend some of my childhood stories. Of course that is expected. How I went to boarding school when I was only nine years old. Back then, going to a boarding school was the It thing. It came with some prestigious admiration. Many parents were very proud to have their kids in boarding schools for different reasons. Be it just the association to big school names, or having a certain status in the society, or having the notion that their children would perform better than in a day school or whatsoever reason. 

Sadly, what some parents did (and still do) is leave it all to the teachers. They forget how much their children need them most at that time. They forget how to really talk to their kids. Eventually a child conforms to being something incomprehensible. Some of these parents silently wonder where they went wrong. 

Personally I always wished to go to a boarding school someday. Mainly to avoid having to wash dishes at home. My dad I guess wanted me to emerge the best in the country with shooting grades, and that is probably one of the reasons why he changed me schools. He definitely had my best interests in his heart. 

Well, academically I was not badly off taking into account I was a broken little naive girl. My Primary school leaving certificate stated that I was above average. I shake my head remembering all those little girls in my village who so much wanted to be me and be associated with me. Showering me with unending compliments. What they did not know is the smile that I gave them, that they so much loved and interpreted to be happiness is anyway what got me through hard times and hid my fears and brokenness. 

As a child I could not define what a used, broken, lost and scattered soul was. I just lived it in silence. As some of you might already know I lost my mum when I was nine (may her soul continue resting in peace) She was very young. She had not reached 35 years when her body succumbed to cervical cancer (this I came to know when I was teenager). She left behind 4 little boys and myself the only girl then before my step mom blessed us with two beautiful sisters.

So shortly after my moms burial, my elder brother and I were taken to a boarding school in another county far away from home. One year we spent together in one school then got separated and went to different schools in the same county. We only got to go home 3 times a year for long holidays (ca. 3 -4 weeks) and 3 times for midterms (ca. 1 week). My siblings and I rarely saw each other.

My siblings and I were literally separated. It was like after my moms passing we all went different ways. Relatives intervened and each took one of us to their homes. We were too young to have a say and even decide on our future. Anyway what baffles me is no one gave us a chance or time to mourn the loss of our mom. Life just moved on. Death was like a taboo topic to hop on. Dad was such a believer to a point that before mom’s burial he asked us to pray to God to give us our mom back. He said she was only sleeping. He unintentionally gave us false hope. He was definitely in shock and did not know how to cope.

There I was, in a boarding school surrounded by so many other little girls who also carried their own loads. I had not yet come into terms with my reality. I had absolutely no one to guide me. No one to share with. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. Literally praying to at least see the ghost of my mother in my dreams. I kept to myself. I became distrustful. I did not trust myself either. I went through a rough childhood. Ugly things happened to me, things that I would never dare tell anyone because I felt that there was no one by my side to listen.  

I have carried a lot of baggage and sickening pain all my life. At some point in my youth I contemplated committing suicide. At that moment I felt so unworthy and had no purpose for my life. I went through hard traumatic events and since I never talked about it or tried to get help just because I was scared, afraid and felt fragile, it just keep piling up and poisoning me. I love my family dearly but not enough to sit down and pour my heart out and share all the baggage. My trusting skills were not nurtured at the right time. 

I went abroad and thought I would start all over afresh. Which I somehow did. At times I feel very lonely. There comes in a strain in relationships that were. Distance plays a big roll in this. Friendships are ruined. The monster of expectations grows large on both sides. People back home expect the people in the diaspora to fulfill certain things, and we the diaspora expect people back home to fulfill certain simple things. Our expectations crash and we misunderstand each other. I have a lot to deal with and after a class my lecturer gave, I find myself in a corner crying wishing I could change the past. Wishing I talked more and louder about my problems to someone. 

I go back to feeling unworthy and misunderstood. Luckily I have one friend who listens and is there to see me through rough times. I get the courage to talk about my pain and this encourages me to even talk more to my closer friends. My therapist said I should not suppress anything I want to let out inside. Because if I keep doing it, it might get out of hand one day. In simple terms it will be too late to deal with. Learn to work on problems earlier than later. Sometimes we think we are strong to walk about with our problems and we don’t realize how much harm we are doing ourselves. People are committing suicide because of depression, which a great percentage of people don’t know they have. Some of those who know they have it are afraid to be laughed at or branded names or seen differently. If you can not talk about it, write it, sing it, play it, art it, draw it…cry it! Make it conscious and you will see progress like I have seen in myself. Do whatever feels right to alight that boat of pain and sorrow. Ignore social conventions and prejudices. For example, boys should also be given space to show and release their pain. Don’t tell your little boys not to cry because they are men. That is so wrong in so many aspects.

My honest urge to parents and guardians out there is to keep your eyes closer to your children. Form a good healthy relationship with them and talk talk talk to them and listen closely to their needs and problems. Do not break or destroy their trust in you. Mostly how we all turn out to be starts from home.  

Also, generally people die everyday. It is inevitable that death will rob us loving and close people around us. Death is part of life and therefor not a taboo. If children are involved in the loss, please don’t say they don’t understand. It is your responsibility to make them understand and help them cope with the loss in a healthy manner. Be there to openly talk about it and answer their questions. If you have no strength to do it please get a close person to help you. I suppose you want your children to be great, so don’t toss them around as if they will always remain kids. 

Yearning for love.

One thing I realized after moving to Europe and more specifically to Vienna, is that what really motivated each one of us to leave our home country was not only the individual drive to search for greener pastures for our future but also the great love we have for our families. In the sense that we would do pretty much anything to uplift the livelihood of those we love.
Most of us get to their chosen country and experience a lot of exciting things. Everyone we know is very curious about us and they send us un-endless messages. Some call every now and then just to check on us. But most of these people call to confirm if it is indeed true that we traveled. I won’t forget those who start asking how you made it to get out of the country because they also want to leave. There is nothing wrong with that.
We gain back so many friends . People who never talked to us before start showing a lot of interest. Some are proud of us and others only want to be associated with us only for the reason that we are abroad.
Days turn into months and before the years kick in, the opportunists start unveiling their true colors. Just because you are abroad someone creates a millionaire image of you. They don’t even care whether you are a student on scholarship or not. They think you bath in money. Incase of a problem back home, they think you are their solution.
We become the”money problem solvers.”


People have got to start killing this assumption that a white mans land is where money really is. True, the opportunities abroad might be more than those back home. The hustle is still the same. If you grind well back home you are or might actually better of than that person abroad. There are as many problems here as there are back at home. Roger that!
You loved ones back at home should be grateful of not having to chase visas, papers and racists who want us out of the country. That is a real nightmare for so many people who moved and are living abroad. Watching your back every now and then trying to keep it together and have a normal life could break someone so bad. But we know better and choose hope to die last.
While we are up and down trying to make ends meet what are our loved ones thinking about us back at home? I have listened to many friends and acquaintances talk of how their families only know how to receive. No one ever calls to just check on them. The only time they make contact is when they need money. Once they get it, silent mode activates. No thank you. Nothing at all. I call that disrespectful.
Mind you, you just received a handsome amount of money and taking a cent from it to buy credit and call back of flash back to appreciate is too much for you. Ungrateful people! Well we still love you and we are too drunk in love that we do it again and again. We send and call back to ask whether you received.
The next time we hear from you is when there is a harambee/fund-raising we need to help contribute to. Better yet, someone is sick or someone is dead or you are sick or you need to buy this and that or you need to pay a debt and the list of creativity is endless.

A lot of people in the diaspora could use some love from their families and friends back home. Some real love for that matter. Reciprocate the love we show and the effort we make to make you happy. Otherwise we get depressed and even question whether we want to come back home to you. Sometimes we just want to hear it. That you love us and appreciate what we do. Just try make one single phone call. Write a message. Poke someone. Wish someone a happy birthday. Little things that do not cost much.
What really prompted me to write this truth is not only do I resonate with it to a certain degree but also because I have listened to many of my friends and acquaintances talk about such stories. Many heartbreaking stories. Seeing them talk about this issue is saddening. I get bitter about all the expectations required of us, while you don’t think we expect anything from you. Well the only difference between our expectations is (yours to ours is non-material.)
I don’t  know whether I made any sense on this article but I will just say this…People in the diaspora continue loving your loved ones and never tire to be there for them but also be wise in all your actions. Do not be deceived. Y’all loved ones back home show us some love and appreciation. There is too much platform that technology has offered us. Use it! Check on us like we matter and you don’t want to lose us.

Let me also personally say this to my friends who keep asking me for money now and then as if it was their goddamn right, shame on you. You ask so unnecessarily and shamelessly and it leaves me wondering what is wrong with you? If I had so much I swear you wouldn’t even have to ask. I’m a student hustling to maintain my independence. So please I’m sorry but I’m not Sorry. I have love for you but don’t get on my nerves. Money will sadly be the end of us.
The few who indeed do check on us we love you right back. You give us strength to move through the hurricanes. Don’t give up that spirit.

PS: share your stories and thoughts regarding this matter below. Dankeschön

Imperfect you! 

You gasp in a long breath of fresh air, let it in deep to your air sacs. While doing this, thoughts are brutally criss crossing your mind. You don’t know which one to hang on to or which one to let go. Then almost as magically it’s just one sinister thought that finds its way to your at most consciousness. You breathe out and whisper to the world what seems to you like a victorious achievement ” I’m Single.”

Those words feel too powerful they tend to form a sneaky subtle smile at the corners of your lips. The freedom you feel is reasonably or unreasonably overwhelming. At this point you feel re-baptized. (Like literally). Newly Reborn, Renewed and given another chance to be happier than before.

You get very excited at the thought of not having to explain your moves and every action to anyone leave alone to the “ex” You are welcomed to the world of singles with shots of your best drink.

What no one prepares you to expect is, the insurmountable obstacles you are likely to face. It’s just you against the hawks with sharp claws. Or do I say the hungry drooling (MAFISI) hyenas.

Some people can not believe you are finally single. Some are skeptical and give you an ultimatum till you get back to the “ex” Some can’t wait to get to squarely screw you. Some can’t wait to take over your damn story like hungry journalists and spread it like they getting paid. Some will be sorry for you. Some will pity you and think you will never settle. Some will say, “mmh I told ya. It was long overdue.”

Insecurities crawl in and once in a while you wonder, whether you will get a “replacement bae?” Or will you end up being alone. Oh! you remember you are in your twenties and furthermore there is a great saying that boldly says, “There is someone for everyone” you smile again.

At times you can’t help but compare where you are in life with where your friends or people you know are. (Not a good idea). You somehow find consolation in the fact that you have no wrinkles yet and your joints don’t crack when you bend over. Yes, young and full of life. Busy with whatsoever you are doing at the moment, be it school or work or whatever.

You can’t wait to turn up. Meet, great, talk, flirt, kiss new people and if you are lucky enough, end up on a strangers bed and wake up with their scent all over you. You are free! Again, once in a while you wonder if the “ex” is taking it as well as you are. You get used to being Single when it dawns on you that the “ex” moved on faster than you expected.

That’s when it hits you that you actually wanted to make right choices and follow a different fulfilling path. Almost everyone that hits on you is disqualified straight on. They don’t team up to your “wants.” You get picky. Those you like don’t like you back in that way. You whine how unfair life is. Along the way you make a few more not great choices.

You might find yourself entangled between two or more lovers. (The ones you decide to give a benefit of doubt).Scandalous affairs become your shadow. On the extreme you win a title as (Mpango wa kando), “The other one” or “side bae.” In your new-found freedom you become the captive.

You want your morals, conscience and dignity to guide you but then you are so driven to be happy that you want to explore further. Curiosity won’t let you wear your white cap. You touch the flames with desire ignoring the fact that you are definitely bound to get burned. You promise yourself that this time you won’t fall too deep.

You think you are happy because your definition of happiness is blurred. Is a few minutes or few hours of pleasure what drives you? You can’t figure it out yet. What you don’t realize is you end up sulking from unsatisfaction of what you keep getting. You still want more, but you keep stumbling and crumbling in the wrong places and in no time you crumble. You find yourself soaking in a horrifying corner.

Why won’t you sit down and think of what you really really want? When will you stop letting other people define you? When will you realize what real happiness is? When will you take charge and just do you? When will you come out of that closet and show the world who you really are? When will you exercise your full potential? What are you afraid of? Is it your past experiences? You ask yourself all these questions and many more on a daily basis. You get so close to the last resort, Hopelessness.

Fortunately you are not a baby anymore and along the way you have picked up great lessons. You do not let yourself lose it. You are not weak. You are a beautiful work of art made in God’s image. You raise up, dust yourself up and recite to your soul what you have learned. What would your life be like if you never went through what you did? Actually, the answer is, it would be nothing because you didn’t live it any other way. You can never go back and relive it. You only move forward in hope, strength and in faith.

Your past will always be present. It will never go away. The greatest gift you can offer yourself is learning how to deal and live with it. Accepting that it is part of your story. Becoming a stronger and a better being regardless of the past. However, it’s easier said than done, I know. I promise you there is always a way to deal with anything that seems impossible to overcome. Not forgetting that your day-by-day account is your chronicle. The strength is in your hands to make it as beautiful and as appealing as you want it to be.

Mutual love is beautiful. When in love, you shouldn’t forget that you are an individual who should stand out and not follow any path prescribed to you by anyone. Do you! Learn well from mistakes made! Love right and find true happiness. Ciao

My Body, Not Your Battlefield

  
I have the perfect body anyone would kill for. I mean not literally though. The ten over ten who makes some few heads turn. Let me let you in what I do. I go through my day just like anyone of you. What do I do that you probably don’t?

I go an extra mile to make me fit. I only eat organic food. It is expensive but I still afford it. I mean I have to. Why? Because I believe in organic food. If I can prevent myself from getting some lifestyle diseases by eating healthy then why not invest some few more coins into eating healthy.

I do not eat junk food. You will never find me in a junk store stuffing my shopping bag with fatty, sugary, crispy enticing kind of foodstuff. I don’t just feed my mouth anything. I take care of the food portions I eat. Food is great and am addicted to it. 

When I eat I make sure I have wiped every grain from my plate. If I get tempted not to finish what is on my plate then I remember there are so many kids in this country called Africa dying from hunger. Its a pity. Am sure you have heard this stories. So I think whenever I throw away food one life goes down. I just want to have a clear conscience. So for all that not to happen I eat in small portions. I don’t overflow my plate and that always helps.

I drink too much water. Probably more liters in a day than what doctors and nutritionists advice. In every sip I take I feel it refreshing my whole body. As it goes down my gut I feel like I am being re-baptised. It washes down my toxificated body. I emerge a more healthier beign that before.

Alcohol, its a no to my healthy life. Too many calories. For what? My system despises that! My nerves tickle anytime I see a bottle of Vodka. My mind warns me not to even think about it. So I just watch others who don’t really care about their bodies have the time of their life. What helps me here is, I remember I was raised in Church. In the kind of church that condemns intake of alcohol or even smoking a cigarette.

Those two things make you a child of Satan. A lost soul that needs intervention through the holy spirit. In the kind of society whereby its ok for a man to smoke but when a woman does, then she is branded big names and gets a piece of ‘societies ‘ mind.for example, “She has lost her way, She is into prostitution, She is not a christian, She is ‘mungiki’ ,She will never get pregnant, She has no future” and so on. 

So why will I consume alcohol when all it will do is give the wrong picture to those around me? On top of that it will destroy my figure. I don’t want to have ‘love handles’ or be told I have a ‘croissant’ kind of figure. I say no to alcohol because am a child of the most high. I don’t want to ruin His temple. 

Oh before I forget I have met many men to whom I told that I do not take alcohol and very beautiful compliments always followed. “…you are a good girl. You don’t drink. You are different. You were raised well. I can see it on your face and can tell you look very healthy. You are a good wife material. You are a good example to other girls….”Why will I throw all that to the bin for a bottle of toxins ? Hell no! 

I exercise twice everyday and when am too lazy or sick then I try just once. I don’t want fat building up. I don’t want people pointing a finger at me when they see my protruding saggy fatty body full of cellulites. I want to tone up. 

I just want to hear whispers on the street of people accepting, appreciating and envying what I look like. I don’t want hearing comments like, ” what does she eat?, She eats too much, She is Lazy, She has stress, She has depression, She is ugly.She is using Contraceptives.” …and so on. That is what the worlds expectations of beauty has reduced me to. I want to be worldly perfect. 

All the above is what I have struggled to be like since I hit adolescence. It is all in my head. Has been for a long time. I don’t have a killer figure. I don’t eat less. I don’t exercise regularly. I don’t eat organic food everyday. I don’t drink gallons of water every day. From everything I eat I can say am of average health. Am not perfect. No one is.

I do not care so much about my body figure/size. Atleast I tell myself that. The fat in my body is not life threatening. I care about my soul more. Am I any less happy? No! My body does not define who I am. I might be a plus size to your eyes but that shouldn’t bother me one second. A day to come I might holla at a friend so we go turn up. Will I oder a glass of milk at the counter? Well, I will decide then. 

I do what I want. I make my own choices. When I don’t exercise as I want to, I fail me not you. I want to be happy with me and that should not be equivalent to your happiness standards. I don’t want to be measured by the ratio of your definition of Beauty. My beauty in real sence is what is on the inside.

Cheers to those who embrace their flaws. I have embraced mine. I see my reflection on the mirror and I wink to the Beauty on the other side. I salute whoever walks with their head held high ignoring the stinging whispers of people surrounding you who think they know you better. Respect! Be proud of those nature given stretchmarks.They are part of your story.

PS: You can have the ‘perfect’ body with intact ‘goodies’ and be very ugly on the inside. “But” Chase whatever brings positivity and good health to your life the best way you can. Work outs, exercise, positive thinking, eating healthy or whatever, it is all great, but don’t be pressured to kill your real vibe. Remain yourself to the core.

MY TRAVEL STORY 2013

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When I was growing up I had dreams. Big dreams. Dreams that I prayed and hoped would one day come true. However, I did not know what it really took to make dreams come true. I did not know how many storms I was gonna break through to see to it that my dreams came true. One of my dreams was to one day go abroad and study. I never talked to anyone about it, though till I finished high school.

I imagined how heavenly it would be to live abroad. Far away from where I called home. I pictured  in my mind of how great, wonderful and beautiful the outer world (the world outside the small world that I knew) could be. It is good to have dreams and chase them with all you got. I chased mine and it was not easy.

A while after I finished high school I joined a language school with actually no concrete reason. I just thought it was cool to be able to speak a totaly different language. I chose German and fell in love with it. It was while I was there that I discovered new things, and made new friends. I got to know that after one could actually express themselves in German and at least get the first German level certificate, then it was a half way open door for one to go to Germany.

I learnt very fast and was among the best. My school director happened to be an agent. She helped people to go to Germany as Au-pairs. She approached me severally but I was reluctant to go to Germany since I had heard that it was very hard to get a German visa.

For those who have never heard about Au-pair, it is an exchange program, whereby one goes to a foreign country and lives with a family for a given period of time. Learns the language and the culture of that particular country, helps mostly with their kids and eventually (if all goes well) becomes part of the family.

A friend of mine introduced me to an agent in Buruburu by the name Olivia. I have named her because she shamefully and literally drained my emotions and wasted my time and that of many other girls. (I hope she can read this). Anyway,  when I went to see her she sweet talked me into making her my agent, promising me that if I paid some down payment everything would go very fast and in a period of three months I would be in Austria.

I partly blame myself that I let her use me. I should have been well informed. I paid the down payment and in 3 weeks she told me she had found a family for me. I was very happy. Then the lies started flowing. This Agent put up my profile on a certain Au-Pair website and impersonated me without my knowledge. One day she tells me she found a family for me, another day she tells me the family fell out. She lied to me day in day out. I could not tell my parents or the people close to me what I was going through in the fear of them loosing hope.

I went to apply for my Visa after nearly a whole year of waiting and I was almost denied the visa due to one terrible mistake I made. I thought I knew so much since I could speak a little German but the shock was on me. The head of Immigration questioned me about my travel and I answered very well. Then she asked me what I knew about Vienna and thats when it hit me that I knew nothing. I had not cared to research.

I had to say something. So I answered her by saying; Vienna is the capital city of Austria. It has many people, there are many cars, its big… (Always say something, never keep quiet!) The look on her face was like are you kidding me? She stopped me and told me she had a problem with every girl going to apply for a visa because they did not know anything of where they were traveling to. She made me an offer to go and research about Vienna and tell her when I came to pick my visa.

After two months I got a call from the embassy to go pick my visa and I had to take my plane ticket with me. My happiness was short lived when my agent called me and told me my host family was not expecting me anymore. She told me to postpone my flight but I could not afford to do that.

The day came when I was to travel. I knew no one was picking me from the airport but only a cousin and an aunt of mine knew that. Everybody else at my farewell party knew otherwise. My grandpa (may his soul rest in peace) kept asking me whether someone was picking me at the airport and to avoid troubling him I kept saying yes.

I was sick the whole time on the flight. I slept most of it and did not eat at all. I landed at Vienna International Airport at 1 p.m. the next day. Police control! They checked my friend and me, the only blacks on that flight. Luckily her host family came for her. She left and I was taken to the interrogation room. I remember very well how cold it was. It was still winter, something I had never experienced.

You can imagine how scared I was all alone with the police. I had no one to fight for me. I was questioned and the whole time I tried to play cool. The little German I knew had melted away. I was totally confused. They mentioned deporting me. They asked for any document to prove what I was doing in Austria. All I had was a three month visa. Another terrible mistake.

I had some phone numbers in my diary book and they turned out to be very useful. I remember telling one policeman not to give up on me. He sympathized with me and did what I asked him. We made some few calls in Germany, Kenya and Austria.

The policeman left the room before we could decide what next. I stood up and whispered, “God please get me through this situation!” In an instant, God answered my prayer because the policeman came talking on phone to the guy who became my hero that day, a friend’s friend. The policeman agreed that I could go with that guy since I had a valid visa.

There are good people out there who are always eager to help. As I waited to be picked up from McDonalds, I stopped a woman with her daughter who turned out to be Kenyan and asked her where I could use a phone. She offered me her phone. I called the guy who was supposed to pick me and he assured me that he was still on his way to the airport.

I told the lady my situation and she gave me some advice. She gave me some money before she left and told me not to be scared. This whole time I had no idea who this guy who accepted to pick me up was. I thought he was a Kenyan because he sounded like one on the phone. He spoke Swahili on the phone. He sounded very relaxed and even cracked some jokes.

I was taken aback when a tall white Rastafarian entered McDonalds and shouted my name. We talked a little and he told me he was once in Kenya for Voluntary work. Funny enough, in the midst of us getting to know each other we realized we had once met in Kenya. What a small world. We finally left the airport at 7 p.m. I was very exhausted and totally drained.

In a foreign country, foreign language, in a stranger’s house, with no money and a three month visa to be prolonged by a host family that I did not have. I tried to reach my agent and she told me that her job was done, I was in Austria. Then she even stopped picking my calls.

I remember my conversations with my family during this period were total lies. I had to tell them that everything was fine and that I was with the host family. In real sense I was looking on the internet for a new family, which I found after a few weeks. From then my Au-Pair year in Vienna finally started. During that time of uncertainty I had great support from relatives and friends in Vienna who I can never thank enough.

Before traveling you should:

1) Research very well and get to know a hand full of the place you are going to.

2) Do not use an agent you barely know. Many out there are money milkers and do not care one bit about you.

3) Have basic knowledge of the language spoken in your destined country.

4) Never forget to carry something to show the reason of your travel.

5) Always have a leap of faith even in situations that are not within your power.

6) Be humble. Attitude speaks so much about you.

7) Carry some phone numbers of people who could help you in any little way

8) Always put God first!

Share your travel story here and I will be glad to read. Thank you for reading my brief portion.

HAIR MISERY

Hair is a big deal to people of African decent or black women all over the world. We spend a great amount of time making sure our hair is on point at all times. We spend hours on it, going to the salons to get it straightened, braiding it up, putting extentions and so on. We can not sleeep freely and comfortably at night, moreso when we have a new hairdo. We literally run from the rain in fear of frizz. Many of us acquaired new showering positions while avoiding any single drop of water getting on our hair. Need I mention how much money we use on our hair ?

Hair is a political and religious subject.The Bible even states that hair is a womans glory and beauty. Some women with Afro kinky hair have been denied jobs at certain offices just because of the appearance of their hair. Straight long hair is considered more appealing and beautiful. So why won’t we go for the Brazillian, Indian, Peruvian, Malysian and such kind of weaves? No woman minds adding a little more beauty, right? Romantically men add up to the hair equation. Many do not appreciate the natural kinky bushy hair their ladies have and this pushes them to look for other options.

One day I went to an African hair salon where I normally do my hair and I witnessed something out of my world. I said hi to the salon owner, chit chatted a little and then one customer drew my attention. Since I love knowing too much and like poking my nose in other peoples business, I went to her and started talking to her. She did not respond to me, however much she wanted to. But I could see she wasn’t ignoring me. So I just went ahead and talked to the woman doing her hair.

This customer was a 3 year old. She was getting her hair straightened. With a hair relaxer. In layman’s language we say ‘Chemical’. The relaxers are Chemical products. Those of you who don’t understand what that really is, ‘google’ is your friend. You will be shocked.

I asked the lady why she was relaxing the poor girls hair and she said that the dad had brought the lil girl to the Salon to make her hair straight since she is a “half caste” (mixed race) and her hair is so curly and so hard to comb. I was like,” how can you do this to a kid who doesn’t even understand what is going on?”

The kid had the relaxer on for so long and I asked her whether it was itching and she nodded yes. I told the hair dresser to wash it already but she just took her sweet time combing the hair over and over again and telling me it was ok coz the relaxer was ‘kids relaxer’ and it takes time to be effective and that it wouldn’t harm the girl in anyway. The girl started crying at last.

The dad came and when the girl saw him she broke down screaming hysterically  and all this time the relaxer was still on her head. The hairdressers now wanted to wash the relaxer off, but the child refused to go to the sink.She was confused, scared and crying uncontrollably. Men, It was a real struggle. At last they managed to get her to the sink by force holding her down like a suspect and washed her hair.

The dad was very angry with the daughter and was repeatedly saying “it’s because am here that she is crying.” I asked him should it not be vice versa? Like the kid sees you and feels protected and gets happy. He said, “…she is just crazy…”. I couldn’t honestly fathom that. He told me it was her first time to do hair straightening. So this conversation followed between us ; Me: Do you know what chemical does to your hair and scalp leave alone that of a kid?

Him:  No! I don’t. But it straightens hair. (how ignorant of the dad) Me: Have you ever had your hair relaxed?

Him: Mmmh yes..long time ago. Me: Were you three years old then? Him: Mmmh no. Me: Okay. Does the mum know what exactly is happening to her daughter right now?

Him: Aaah not really, but she knows it’s just straightening the hair and she is ok with it since the kid won’t let anyone really comb her hair. I just left the salon with so much worry and so many thoughts.

I could honestly swear that, that lil kid went home with several burns on her scalp.I swore I  would never let my kid straighten their hair at such a young age. I have straightened mine but the first time I did it I was 19 years old. I was very excited to have my hair straight and style it anyhow I wanted to, but sometimes I wish I could change that. I have had several burns from the so called relaxers and it’s not funny at all.

There are of course short and long term side effects, advantages and disadvantages of chemically treating hair. Some people  eventually become bald due to continuous and unprofessional usage of them ‘relaxers’. Hairlines get damaged. Some people get unending severe headaches. Some go blind when the chemical is wrongly handled and gets to the eyes etc.

Why are we not proud of our Hair? Why don’t we like Kinky hair?  Am proud of women who have risen above deep insecurities that still trouble many women and have taken a step to keep it natural and take real good care of their hair. Keep the kinks and don’t forget to keep the scalp clean though.

I am not campaigning for people to go natural coz I understand how hard that can be, but let us ask ourselves, do we think straight hair is more manageable beacause thats all we have been taught and its all we know? or, Do we think it looks better on us because thats how we have always seen ourselves?

Mothers and fathers, enlighten yourselves before doing things you think are easier for you. Think about your kids first. For all it’s worth, do not relax your kids hair. Don’t take that right from them. There are other ways that could help you comb your kids hair easily. If only you were a little more patient. Research well and rest on whichever way is healthy to your kids hair and scalp.