Monday, February 6, 2012

Hair Coloring

Our extended family enjoyed a great family lunch together after church yesterday, celebrating two February birthdays. One precious member of our family at the table was Mathiang. He is from the Sudan and has been a blessing to our family since 2001. Currently a student at Maryville College, he stands out because of his tall and slender stature, very dark skin, and bright, shining smile.

We love listening to Mathiang teach us about life in Africa. I believe it was one Thanksgiving when he was asked what food they might eat for a special day (like our Thanksgiving). He said, "Elephant." Of course the follow-up was, "What does elephant taste like?" "Hippopotamus!" he said. I thought he was going to say "Chicken."

During the conversation yesterday the subject turned to how someone would color their hair while living in Africa, not that anyone in our immediate family will be coloring their hair in Africa! Mathiang proceeded, to our surprise, to tell us how they dyed (or bleached) their hair when he was in Kenya. "First you get some cow urine." We knew this was going to be a story that the guys around the table would enjoy.

As our minds began imagining where this would go, it raised questions like, "How do you get the cows to pee in buckets?" Mathiang informed us they don't have buckets in the refuge camps of Kenya. They had to use gourds. "Okay, how do you get them to pee in gourds? Do you tie them on like a giant diaper?" We never quite figured out how they collect the liquid portion of this recipe, so he continued. "Next you take some cow dung ash." Man, this was getting better all the time. "Sift the dung ash and mix it with the urine to make paste." Pretty simple, right?

"Rub the past into your hair and scalp," Mathiang said "and leave it in for two days." "Doesn't that stink?" someone asked. "Yeah, but when everyone smells the same you don't notice it!" 

It so much fun having Mathiang around. He keeps us laughing and crying. Now we just have to figure out how to get the cows to pee in buckets!

(Please note that my precious husband, Reid, wrote this post...not his wife who does happen to color her hair and promises to never do it this way!)

1 comment:

Reid said...

Robin thought that everyone should know that she didn't write this!