Last weekend, since I was heading to Entebbe anyways to pick up a new Shanti volunteer, I decided it would be an opportune time to call up Kristen’s hairdresser, Richard, and have him put braids in my hair, similar to the ones that Kristen had when I first arrived in Uganda. After a few crossed wires as to where exactly the appointment was taking place, I managed to meet up with him, and we headed to a store near the taxi park to purchase the extensions that would be braided into my real hair. With many bags of hair in hand, we took a boda to a salon in town and started the incredibly time-consuming process of plaiting. Each braid was done using only a few strands of my own hair, which were then woven with the extensions to create a braid that goes nearly a foot past my shoulder – far longer than my hair has been for many years.
Richard started working shortly before 11am, and even with assistance from Addai, another hairdresser at the shop, it was still well past 6pm before everything was finished. Luckily, I’d thought ahead and brought my ipod with me, so I spent most of the time listening to podcasts and watching Michael Jackson music videos that were playing on the salon’s television set. Aside from my legs falling asleep on account of all the sitting, and a sore scalp from how tightly the braids had to be put in, I emerged from my appointment relatively unscathed, and with a few extra pounds of hair to get used to. The braids can generally stay in for two to three months, which is nice since they are even more low maintenance than the ponytail that I usually wear. Now the only question is whether they’ll hinder my ability to do an eskimo roll at the kayak school we’re attending in Jinja on Saturday!