There are so many reasons why we are lucky to call Canada our country. I recently returned from Africa – where I traveled to Togo, Ghana, South Africa and Mauritius. This was my second trip to the continent. In 2006 I visited Togo with Children of Africa, a charity I helped found that helps support the educational needs of African children. While I was there, just like when I am anywhere, I always take time to check out the hair culture.
Hair, fashion and style are different with every culture. Going to a third world country like Togo, was an interesting experience. Surprisingly, even though the women are faced with extreme challenges in providing the basic needs of life for their children and families, they still somehow find a way to express their own style and individuality. This really impressed me and showed how tradition and culture are so important to have and keep in our lives.
I saw different hairstyles – some women had their hair up and swept to the side, with straightened hair or loose curls, just pinned up when it was wet. Some had traditional braids. Others wrapped their hair in really cool traditional wraps that had special meaning in their culture – it was really beautiful. It made me forget for a minute about the state of the country and the poverty. I guess maybe that’s what it does for them as well. Maybe that’s what fashion does – it makes us forget about our problems for a minute and focus on ourselves. It gives us a feeling of self-love and motivation. It reminds us that life has to have a balance and to enjoy life even in extremely difficult times.
Fashion is a need – not just a choice. That is why I have a career. I’m not saying that it’s as important as food and water, but it gives every culture a sense of individuality and sense of being.
Another cool thing was how Togo had their own version of hair salons with names like Sexy Hair Salon and Paris Salon. You can tell the names were influenced from something they saw on television or a magazine – just like we get our inspiration here. For me, it was very interesting from a business point of view.
I’m so proud to be a Canadian and experience the world of fashion and hair on this side of the world. I am also happy that I can learn from different cultures and am able to travel and see the beautiful and amazing things in our world. I am truly blessed.
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