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My natural hair journey – 4 months post “The Big Chop”

So it has been a while since I last wrote about my natural hair journey and I thought it would be good to post an update. As I shared in previous posts, this is about a whole lot more than just hair for me. It is about teaching my baby girl (and myself) to love herself exactly how God has made her.

I need to be honest – this hasn’t been the easiest of journeys. I had no idea how much of my worth was tied up in my hair and what society deems as “good hair”. At first, I hated my hair – I had no idea what to do with it. We went out on a date one night soon after I cut it off and I struggled to believe I looked good because my hair couldn’t “hang”. I have not known how to manage my mane (or lack thereof) and I believed that I had made a huge mistake.

But, 4 months later, I have changed my tune. Yes, I still have days when I wish that my hair was long but honestly, my hair has not been this healthy or curly in as long as I can remember.

I live in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal. Also known as , Sleepy Hollow, meaning everything takes a little bit longer to happen here than in the rest of the country. So, while the natural hair craze has been sweeping the big SA cities by storm – everyone is still relaxing the heck out of their hair up here. Never mind Brazilian treatments, weaves and extensions… So when I first told my hairdresser that I planned to cut my hair and “go natural”, I was faced with confusion. I have yet to find a natural hairstylist here in PMB who I really trust (recommendations welcome!) and this has meant that I have been on this journey with the help of my two great friends YouTube and Google.

My wash and go routine consists of wetting the hair, using a leave in conditioner, saturating the hair with a curl activating CREAM or pudding (not a mousse!) and then sealing with flaxseed gel (a small amount for slightly elongated curls and a larger amount for tight curls). At the moment this is my go-to style but I think that as my hair grows I will need to be investigating more protective styles.

One of the things that has helped my hair adventure along has been finding the right products. I have googled products like crazy and after researching I have landed on the following products. These products are available locally (if you are lucky, you’ll find them at Clicks) and won’t break the bank TOO much.

I have also found shopping online to be incredibly useful – my favourite natural product online shop is MzansiFro – they are comparable in price to places like clicks but they ship directly to your door. The hair products1owner is great and is ALWAYS available to answer queries (I have messaged her 9pm on a Friday evening and got a reply right away) as well sending amazing samples whenever you order,  which allows you to try new products without breaking the bank. I am an Aunt Jackies girl – I use the kids line for Grace too.

When I look back at photo’s I am amazed at the amount of hair growth I have had over the last 4 months – I know that finding the right products has been integral in keeping my hair growing.

 

There are many reasons to go natural but I think it is important to know that this is also a faith journey for me – not just a hair journey.

Another blog, Little Me Big Praise, spells out some godly reasons to go natural.  Go and read her post but to summarize:

  • When you put a relaxer in your hair, you are not just changing the texture of your hair.  You are sending a message to God.  You are saying, “God, Your creation is not perfect.  You made a mistake when you gave me these kinks and coils, curls and twists.” 
  • There is Beauty and Uniqueness in Your God-Given Natural Hair
  • Going Natural Frees Us from the Lies of the Enemy That Has Been Fed 2 us By Society.  It Frees Us From the Lie that Tells Us that We are Not Good Enough
  • Going Natural Allows You to See How God Custom Built You

Whoever you are, whatever your hair looks like – you are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who does not make any mistakes. Embrace God by embracing the natural hair he has given you.

 

 

Dignity and Health

Yesterday I had my first day at YFC and I was able to refine some of what my responsibility will be.

toilet-clipart-toilet-vector-illustration-cartoon-53156983I will be starting up a new project which will focus on sanitation and health in some of the informal settlements and communities that YFC Pietermaritzburg are already working in.

It will be called the “Dignity and Health Project” – adequate sanitation, running water and proper access to sanitary wear give people without the above a sense of dignity. And in turn helps with the overall health of the community.

Some long term goals will be to see flush toilets in communities but obviously that is a long road and involves local municipalities.

For now I will be focusing on building relationships with major stakeholders (ward councilors, community members, current YFC teams in various communities etc). I will also be doing lots of research into pit latrines and other non-flush toilet ideas and how to keep them usable, looking at financially viable options for sanitary wear (menstrual cups and reusable sanitary towels) and also learning as much as I can about water plans and laws here in KZN.

Many people have asked why I want to do this.

Well, I believe, that God is a God of Justice and that he has commanded us “…to do what is just and right…” (Jeremiah 22:3) and that includes getting alongside those who do not have adequate sanitation and seeing what we can do to help.

If you want know how you can get involved please have a look at our support page.

Mother’s Day Connect 2017 Edendale

In my previous post, I shared that Cape Town Embrace approached me about trying to get a flagship mother’s day hospital visit happen here in PMB.

How naive was in my last post. I really believed that it would be as easy as calling the hospital and getting some friends and then visiting on Mother’s Day.

Unfortunately, we hit red tape at every point of this journey. The Monday before mother’s day, we still didn’t have permission for this visit to happen and I was beginning to feel pretty despondent. That same day, an amazing new friend in Durban – Christie – got a contact for another hospital and between her and Julie in Cape Town, they arranged for our visit at Edendale hospital.

This new hospital took a couple of days to sort but still had its own degrees of red tape – after we promised to not run a political rally (haha) or bring in any gifts beyond cakes (boohoo) we finally got permission for this visit the Thursday before Mother’s Day. While I was super excited that this was actually going to happen, I was also pretty overwhelmed. I had 3 days before Mother’s Day and I needed a team to visit 75 ladies.

I had a few friends who had agreed to go but we definitely needed more mamas. I was so grateful for technology those next few days – many shares on facebook and whatsapp messages later – we had a team of 18 ladies (15 moms and 3 teenager girls) who had organised about 150 cupcakes, 90 bible bookmarks, 100 chocolates and beautiful mothers day cards organised by Cape Town Embrace.

I was blown away by how quickly these ladies came together! Many of the ladies didnt know each other but the feeling of sisterhood on the day would have made you believe that we had know each other for years.

The actual visit was phenomenal, the moms were so happy to have us there, for many it was their first mothers day and we were their first visitors. The nursing staff were so welcoming and warm. It was a huge success and many of our team walked away asking “when is mother’s day next year?”.

There are many stories to share from meeting the moms, a mommy who got a prayer meeting (at the moms request) going in one wing, a mom who herself had had a baby at 14 sitting alongside a scared 15 year old, telling her she was a wonderful mama and that she was going to be okay, seeing the newest mom being brought into the ward and having her baby handed to her. Seeing these amazing new mom’s glowing with pride as they were told how beautiful their babies were. I was blown away by the joy and love in the ward during that hour long visit.

I am so grateful to Julie and Cape Town Embrace for giving me this opportunity to be a part of such an amazing project! I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I would gladly get myself into it again.