I have always liked long braids because they’re beautiful on most women. Once I came to Ghana, I learned that wearing braids is a huge fashion trend. So one night while we were all talking, I got the idea to get braids. Another student in our group got her hair done and it looked great, so why not me as well? The only problem with getting braids is that my hair is too short; therefore, if I wanted braids I was going to have to buy extensions (in a natural color of course).
It took me awhile to make the final decision, as I had heard that sometimes getting braids hurts. Knowing myself, I knew this would be a problem because I don’t tolerate pain very well.
I kept going back and forth until I finally sat down in the chair inside the little salon on the side of the road the braiding began. Whether I could handle the pain or not, I was getting my whole head braided.
The process of braiding didn’t hurt at all. Surprisingly, it was actually relaxing. I almost fell asleep a few times. Even though there was no pain, I started to quickly get anxious because I was told that the braiding should only last 80 minutes, but instead it took three hours. I guess sitting in the chair for an extensive period of time was kind of uncomfortable, because I constantly had to bend my head back and move it in various directions to accommodate the task.
I think I was finally relieved after they were all done braiding. However, now I had a whole head full of hair that would weigh me down. Afterwards, I was surprised to see what I looked like because I couldn’t even recognize myself and neither could other people. I got so many compliments on how good it looked from co-workers and other people. In my office they now call me Afia Obruni (my weekday name and white person).
I have realized that some people might consider me getting my hair braided with extensions as a cultural appropriation. I understand that some people might consider it an intrusion on someone else’s culture. On the other hand, other people see it as immersing in the culture. I can see how both sides feel. But I think it is the chance to try something new. When in Ghana, lots of adventures can happen.