When I first got to Ghana and started my job, I was a stickler for time. Due to the traffic, and as I was taking a taxi to work I left the house at latest 6.30 to get to the office at around 7.30. I would leave at 5pm on the dot (unless I had a deadline to meet). I was always the first person to arrive for a meeting and when I gave you a deadline I kept to my word. Unfortunately the people around me were not as bothered when it came to keeping time. By and by I started to join them. Not that I get too work late and if I have an appointment I keep to time, plus I don’t like to break a promise so always stick to deadlines. But I use my discretion as to whether I turn up for a meeting on time (dependant on who it is, no point turning up early if the person will turn up 30 minutes late). Work, if for any reason I cannot wake up at the usual 4.45 then I will not leave for the office until after 8 (traffic).
If its raining too, unless I have an important meeting, I will hold out until as late as possible. These things are never done in London. To tell my boss I am late because it is raining would be unheard of (and would mean you will always be late for work as it is always raining), but in Ghana, especially in a company which is predominantly Ghanaian, well even your boss will not turn up until 10am so as long as you get to the office at least 15 minutes before they do, then no problem.
The other day I was naughty. I took advantage of my boss’ absence to go and do my hair. I left at 3.30 as opposed to 5. Do I feel bad, not really, because I arrived at the office at 6.30 so technically I had done my 8 hours for the day (well I had sat behind my PC for those amount of hours, the amount of productive hours, well that is another question). Its funny, people always check the time you leave, but they forget that when you arrived they were probably just getting out of bed, but I digress.
So I went to the mall to buy relaxer for my hair. I have to admit, I have been a weave-on Diva for the past 6 months, purely out of convenience, but also because Ghanaian hairdressers don’t know how to style natural hair. I was going to come back to my hairdressers in East Legon, but I was at the Mall and at 4pm there was a very long queue to get out, it would take nearly half an hour just to come out of my parking space let alone out of the mall, so I thought that I might as well do it at the salon in the mall.
I go in and enquire about the price. At 25 GHS for the removal of the rug on my head and then to touch up it is about average, where I live it is around the same price (unless you go to one of those local salons where they use a container as a shop, although cheaper I do wonder about their qualification or a salon far out of Accra and well what you don’t spend on your hair you will spend on fuel).
The Salon was kitted out like a down market Tony and Guy Salon, flat screen TV in the corner, girls in their uniforms. There were about 6 girls in the salon and some ladies under the drier when I got there. I was asked to take a seat and given a ticket. There were two girls styling some ladies’ hair, the rest were too busy engulfed in their conversation to even bother with me. After about 5 minutes, one of the ladies finally finished styling her customer’s hair. Finally, my turn, wrong!, she just went to join the conversation with the other heifers. About 10 minutes later a young lady finally came to see to me. No apology for waiting while employed people are being paid to sit around, but she was pleasant enough.
So she relaxes my hair, washes it out and then says to me, “I’m putting you under the dryer yeah”. It was more like I command than an option, although I didn’t want my hair to be blow dried, it would have been nice to have had the option.
I was directed to sit under the drier on these swanky glass looking chairs. The most uncomfortable 20 minutes of my life was spent sitting on that chair. It was hard it hurt my back, those chairs would be the one reason for me not to return. I swear.
20 minutes later I was out from under the drier, she sat me on a chair with my back facing the mirror. I showed the girl the style I wanted, even though I couldn’t see what she was doing exactly (my back was facing the mirror), I could tell she didn’t mind me. From the little experience I have had with this country I can see that hairdressers here, if its not a weave, they just don’t know what to do. Even the hair magazines I requested for, some American hair magazine, plus sized women (no disrespect to the larger lady but these ones were rather ghetto). Short weaves, long weaves, shaved heads with pieces slapped on the front of their foreheads. No style there.
The other magazine, white chicks, blonds, brunettes, redheads, my hair texture and theirs not possible to emulate, unless I wear a weave. So she did what she could with my now texturized hair and spun me around to face the mirror, kind of defeated the purposes a bit when she spun me around because I didn’t have my glasses on at the time so it was a bit of a delayed response. How does it look on day 2. Tied back, back to the weave-on tomorrow…I’m a bit of a weave-ho but as I said, convenience, and classic styles only nothing outrages, just because I bought hair taken from some old lady in Calcutta, it doesn’t need to show it once on my head.
So that was my afternoon of playing hooky. Do I feel guilty, not really, as I said nobody noticed when I got in at 6.30 that morning.
Yeah I’m a rebel, but actually not really, because everybody else is doing it. Sometimes you just gotta do as the Romans do…lol