Posted: August 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Haitian ladies are into hair and nails.  Serious artwork here.  Hair
braiding is social, uniting women in conversation, gossip, laughter,
touch and community.  American women may do lunch or do coffee – Haitian
women do hair.  They work swiftly and with precision and care that
would rival any pro knitter or quilter.  Their hands move with speed and
perfection.  The end products are often creative and lovely.  Hair is a
statement of womanhood, femininity, beauty and friendship.  Chatting
over hair is what we do around here.  I’ll often pop into the hospital
at night and the gals, including the nurses, are sitting around doing
hair.  It’s serious stuff.
Not having your hair done means you can’t go out or you find a cap.
 Rain is disastrous.  A shower cap is appropriate hair wear in the rainy
season.  Gotta protect the lid.
When a visiting stateside friend and adoptive mom offered to do hair and
nails for our pregnant ladies I quickly signed her up.  Not that she
would be doing the hair.  White ladies can’t do hair as is evidenced by
many an adoptive child once they go home to the states.  But, Kathy’s
Haitian daughter Magolie would be doing the hair.  Now we were talking.
 Nails can be done by well meaning white ladies – not hair.
Magolie and her helpers did a fine job and ladies left looking quite
lovely.  Our maternity center transformed into a beauty parlor for a few
hours and feet were massaged, nails were shaped and hair was washed,
conditioned and braided.
Women doing what women do – loving each other, weaving hair and weaving
relationships.  Chatting, laughing and making each other more whole.

Beth McHoul


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