As you may know, I am a keen traveller and actually have itchy feet in this very moment. But I am lucky to have the world or at least parts of it in my classroom. So I learn bits and pieces of other languages, cultures, dos and don’ts while working.
What do you learn at work?
The first word I normally want to learn from people with different mother tongues than me is thank you followed by hello. I remember many moments when I opened doors and hearts by just simply saying one of these words in their language. I also still see the smiling faces, mine included. The latter I rather feel than see, though ;-).Today, I’d like to share a story that happened to me in November last year. We were in our morning German course and took a break for thirty minutes as we do every morning. Probably caught in my thoughts, I opened the door to the bathroom and found myself in an African hairdresser’s salon.
Now, two ladies of my class were busy getting a new hair style. To be more precise, one of them played the role of the hairdresser and the other one was her client. Just like that during break time. Adding here that she is not a hairdresser by profession, no, she worked in the banking sector. I actually wonder whether every African woman just knows how to do this. A question I still have to get an answer for. Anyway, I was giddy with pleasure and asked whether I could take photos of this unusual yet so wonderful scene in a Swiss school’s bathroom. I ran to get my phone and took the images you see today.
Hair styles are important for all of us, aren’t they? But the way African women change their hair sometimes leaves me breathless. It can happen that I look surprised at someone entering the classroom on Monday morning because her style is so very different. From braids to a style with full hair (do you know what I mean?) over the weekend. I wish I could look completely different from time to time almost over night. I can, but it then has to stay for a while as the hair has to grow back first. It is obviously not possible for me to just quickly change the way I look every other week.
I found some history of African Women’s Hairstyle you might be interested in.
After all, Ogechi – the lady getting her hair done – told me that my hair is sought-after in Nigeria and that I really could earn good money there with it. So I might let it grow even longer before I travel to the African continent again!
The two did not manage to finish it during the break, but almost. I would say about three quarters of Ogechi’s head now consisted of these cute hair balls. No need to say that I wanted to touch them. This is surely what you thought yourself “Oh, how I wish I could touch the screen and see how this feels?” Am I right?
You guess it, they are very fluffy.
After class, Firehiwot finished her work and Ogechi was one happy woman. Me too.
And I took away some learnings, too. First, you can have your hair done in an almost public bathroom. Second, you can weave filament into your hair. Third, forty-five minutes are enough to look different. Fourth, I like how that hair feels. Fifth, surprise and fun awaits you where you would never expect it.
Finally, I have to admit, that to this day I did not know how to say thank you in the mother tongue of these two. I asked Firehiwot before, but Amharic (a language spoken in Ethiopia) is very difficult for me and I need to see it written in order to really memorize it which I never asked for. But today, I did. Ogechi speaks English as one of her mother tongues, that is why I never thought of asking her. But her mother tongue is also Igbo.
So here we go, you two lovely ladies: Ameseginalehu and Ndewo from the bottom of my heart for letting me be there with you, taking pictures, and sharing this wonderful story here with my readers.
By the way, Ogechi and Firehiwot gave both birth to baby girls lately. They are all doing well and looking gorgeous as their mothers do. I send love your way. Enjoy every moment of this precious time!
I feel thankful. Also for you dearest readers. Thank you for coming back to my site and being here today!
Danke, Merci, Grazie, Gracias, Webale muno, Imelaa, Dankie, Ameseginalehu, Ndewo, Mamnun, Shukran, Thanks, Cheers, Tangi, Aio, Kea leboga.