Building a wood-inlaid concrete floor involves a lot of bending down and getting back up again, and such activity will cause long, heavy hair to flop around rather a lot, even if it is tied back. I was helping build such a floor in the peach sales stall on a peach farm, and a lady who was a friend or relation of the peach farming family passed by and started chatting. She was known on the farm as "Momo-baa-chan" or "Granny Peach" - I think she owned some of the peach fields that the farm used. As I stood up to chat with her, my dreadlocks must have flopped about a bit more, because she said "Gosh, isn't your hair long! I haven't really noticed it before." She must have been a rare member of the local community who did not know about the project I was undertaking. Whether or not she had noticed my dreadlocks before, this was undoubtably a mention of them, and qualified for a cutting request, since I did not recall any conversation with her about my project. So we sat down in the peach shack and had a long conversation about all sorts of things, in amongst which I explained to her all about what I was up to.
Eventually, despite not appearing particularly keen to take part, Granny Peach cut one of my dreadlocks off.
|selecting a lock|
|taking a run-up|
She certainly had no interest in keeping it, and asked me if I wouldn't take it to a hospital so that it could be made into a wig for someone with no hair.
Well, the ability to make a wig from a single dreadlock was questionable, and I could envisage that if I turned up at a hospital to present a dreadlock, begging them to take it to give to someone who had lost their hair, then I might very well be asked to leave - or asked to stay if it happened to be a hospital of a particular specialism...
Perhaps it was mean and selfish of me to remove my hair as a travel project, rather than donating it all to a hairless individual, but I believe that through this project, I have spread interest, fascination and enthusiasm wider than would have been the case had I removed my hair all in one go and sent it to Locks of Love. (It seems, too, that Locks of Love do not accept dreadlocks anyway.)
As it happened, I did put this hair - and the others I had kept - to use as a sort of wig for myself. I intended to keep my hair removal a secret from my family until I next met them in person. When I video-Skyped with my family a few months later, I wore my head band with the dreadlocks I'd kept stuffed into it. They did not notice the thinness of my hair, so my secret was safe, allowing me to keep the surprises for a later date.
To the next dreadlock.