One of the joys of completing senior high school in Ghana is the opportunity it offers the girls to begin to braid their hair. Some students even started their journey by leaving their hair bushy while writing their final exams, just to make it easier to start braiding.
Unfortunately for me, my parents who were very strict did not tolerate my excuses to keep my hair bushy, even after my WASSCE, meaning a visit to the barbering shop at least every two weeks.
All my friends went to the salon to get their hair done, some on the same day of completion, and others a few weeks after.
I tried all my persuasive skills on my mum to convince her to give me money for my hair but nothing worked as she kept saying I was still not ready for any hairstyle.
The only money given to me was for a haircut. And no matter how many times I tried to save, it was never enough.
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One day, my girlfriends paid me a visit at home. “As for you, you are still in senior high school o, hehehe” Mavis poked fun at me. Akosua and Sarpomaa tried to hide their giggles, but it was quite useless.
“The Catholic Youth is organising an excursion to Kakum National Park” Sarpomaa said, trying to bring the topic back to safer grounds. “That sounds like fun” I said happily. Sapomaa nodded in approval. “So is it going to be just us, SHS leavers?” I asked.
“Not at all, the juniors will be there as well” Mavis replied casting an all too knowing glance at my almost shiny head. “Don’t get too mixed up in the crowd, or we may not find you” this time Sarpomaa and Akosua simultaneously burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter.
I didn’t blame them much; after all, I looked like their kid sister with my low haircut.
I saw them off after their visit. On the way back home, I looked through the open shops to keep my mind occupied.
Then I saw it; a beautiful wig, staring at me through the glass windows. I moved closer and my nose almost touched the glass pane. Oh how I wanted it, but of course, I was weary of such shops which sold things at exorbitant prices.
“Hi” a voice interrupted my thoughts. It was the sales girl. Knowing how Accra shop owners hated how people stood in front of their shops, I made to leave. “Oh, you can come in and have a look.”
I walked in, tentatively smiled and we became friends, as she told me she was also an SHS leaver just like me, taking care of her aunt’s shop while awaiting results.
“This wig is nice”, I said, warming up to her. “Yes o”, she replied. “But it’s not that expensive. It’s the last one and my madam wants me to sell it quickly”. “Oh really,” I enquired “its 50 cedis” she said.
Fifty cedis? I thought to myself trying not to look too surprised, indeed saying something is expensive is relative. It seems I was not successful in disguising my shock as she added hurriedly “but don’t worry, I can give it to you for 30 cedis and you can pay the rest later”
This must have been my lucky day, seeing as I had 35 cedis in my purse. I immediately gave it to her, and bought my first wig.
On the day of the excursion, it took my friends some minutes before they could make me out. “Eii, is that you” gasped Sarpomaa. Akosua got closer and felt my hair “this is the right type, my big sister got one not so long ago…” we chattered on the way to the bus.
Some of the boys from the church had formed a group while waiting for the bus. As we got closer, they started whistling and calling us, led by Mavis, we crossed to the other side.
Just then, a car appeared from the corner, and we had to wait. After the car sped past us, we felt the wind from the car, and we all yelled at the driver in irritation.
All was silent after the car left. The boys across had funny expressions on their faces, I turned round and there stood Mavis, Sarpomaa and Akosua. Akosua was covering her mouth.
All of a sudden, I began to feel light headed. I made an attempt to adjust my wig, but realised it was no longer there. In my haste to leave the house, and without insight on how to put the wig on, I hadn’t fixed it properly.
Mavis had also started laughing after seeing the look on my face. Even though I could now hear general laughter, my concern was for the wig which I hadn’t finished making payment for.
After my friends were able to suppress their laughter, they helped me to look for the wig; a futile effort since we did not find it.
At that instant, I wished the ground would open up and swallow me. We went for the excursion, after my friends got me a scarf to tie around my head.
I never complained to my parents about my hair, and I still hide from the lady at the shop.