Hair Nostalgia

There was stuff that I wanted to do yesterday and today, but I’m trying not to think about that, because I didn’t get to do any of it. This morning I was up early baking more cookies for Mercy. I think they turned out pretty well.

I had a bunch of paperwork to do, and a couple of errands to run, but eventually I made it home to bake mug cakes for Lucy to sell tomorrow. I also collected a few odds and ends to take her tomorrow. I’m glad she is busy with the sale because tonight was the homeschool high school banquet, which she did not attend in order to evade the same drama that was going on last year. I’m glad she had something else to do! Spencer also did not go. He and his friend Britton and Kat went to the university’s annual talent show, Hootenanny.

And now, for something completely different: plaiting. If you’ve read my memoir (and you really should), you may remember that I talked about my friend Kumi and her sisters getting their hair plaited. (“Plait” is pronounced “platt,” by the way.) Plaiting, despite what you might think, does not involve braiding at all. The hair is wrapped with black cotton thread and the ends of the thread are used to tie the plaits into various patterns, from very simple to very complex. I love the look of plaited hair. I think it is gorgeous. When I got to go to Zambia for a visit in 2000, I looked in vain for plaits. I saw lots of cornrows and fake braids but no plaits. When I asked about it, I was told that plaiting was no longer done.

Well, thank goodness, that wasn’t exactly true! My childhood friend Eira, who lives on a remote mission station an hour or so’s drive away from Lina, posted some photos today of ladies plaiting each other’s hair while waiting to be seen at the clinic. I want to share them with you, since I know some of you would enjoy seeing them but aren’t on Facebook or Pinterest.

First, the hair is divided into sections, and each section is tightly wrapped with thread.

plaiting A

If the hair is long, the sections can be quite large, as shown here, but if the hair is shorter, the sections must be smaller.

plaiting B

This young girl’s hair is quite short, so you can see how small the sections are. Each stubby little plait is tied to the base of the one behind it to form a very simple but attractive style.

plaiting C

This girl has medium length hair, and as you can see an attractive style has been designed by tying the end of each plait to the base of the one two sections down.

Plaiting D

I am so sorry that this way of doing hair is no longer common. Plaited hair stays nice looking for up to a month and never has to be combed!

One thought on “Hair Nostalgia

  1. They still do their hair like that sometimes around here, but braiding is faster so I think that’s why more people go that rout. Plus, they like to braid cotton extension into their hair.


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