Thursday, June 24, 2010

Witches' Whiskers

Yesterday I read this post by Lindsey Farrier on her She's Still Got It blog. In her blog she asks an interesting question which I've decided to answer in my own blog post. Go ahead and read it. I'll still be here when you get back.

So, the question asked was, Where was the strangest place you've found a  stray hair.

I just had to share this story:

Last year I was invited by a Peace Corps volunteer, Mindy, to stay the night in her hut. I've often wondered how these volunteer manage to live for 2 years in a mud hut with no running water and a hole in the ground for a toilet. I welcomed the opportunity to see for myself if only for a night.

I walked from our orphanage to Mindy's site. It took about 30-40 minutes. The first afternoon I found a bit overwhelming with so many kids milling around her little hut. But after a good night sleep I just chilled out on the front 'porch' reading while kids played all around. One little girl sat right in front of me and began telling me stories. I couldn't understand a word she said but she was very expressive with her facial expressions and hand gestures. Every once in a while I would ask Mindy what story the little girl was telling and she would mostly guess and it was fun. 

After about 30 minutes of this story telling the little girl got all wide eyed and quiet. She began staring at the lower part of my face with great excitement. She then called her buddy over and they began talking excitedly about something of great importance on me! I got really nervous and brought my hands up to my face. As I felt around I discovered a hair hanging from underneath my chin. I was horrified! and immediately began to pull it out. 

The girls shrieked and pulled my hands down. No, no! they said.

You see, here in Zambia it is considered good luck to have facial hair. It is not uncommon to see women walking around with quite the showing--enough to shame an adolescent boy. They are careful to shave most other parts of their bodies but the facial stuff gets to stay.

I left the hair alone while the girls continued to chatter to me but it felt like a log hanging down. Now that I knew about it there was no way I could ignore it! As soon as the girls wandered off, I reached up and plucked that little sucker. It was about 1 inch long! Ewww!

About 5 or 10 minutes later the girls came back and the first thing they did was look for my hair. When they couldn't find it they searched for a few more seconds before giving me a disdainful look. 
Hey, I'm all for honoring local culture but I have to draw the line at growing witches' whiskers.


  1. LOL, that's hilarious!

    I love reading your stories about everyday life over there. It's so different and I find it fascinating. :)

  2. Ha, ha. That's a great story. And interesting about the hair. Maybe we can learn something here....Nope, not working for me either.


  3. Girl, I've had some hairs in weird places too. My toes and the top of my foot most recently. Yuck.

  4. Yes, my german and swedish heritage has blessed me with a few of those random hairs... I go nuts if I find one and can't get it out right away... plagues me til I can get the tweezers!


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