Whoever decided that women out here should wear skirts and keep their heads covered at all times couldn’t have been a woman themselves! You know, I really like living out here and I enjoy day to day life, but what I do not enjoy is even thinking about doing work in a long skirt! Parts of my job require me to do some elements of manual labor including working with livestock, driving a truck, and sometimes a little gardening. In my mind, those things were not designed to be done in a skirt! All of the women out here seem to manage, but I am constantly getting my skirt caught on thorns or in fences as I am walking and the best yet was the day I had to climb into the back of the truck – over a railing – in the skirt. I promise you it was not ladylike!
Not nearly as bad, but just a little annoying is the headscarves. Sarah and I like to joke about that day in Africa when we looked like gypsies or pirates. It really just is not a cute look. Many people have raised questions about what we actually wear out here because in some pictures, I am dressed normal and then in others I am in a skirt and headscarf. The answer to that question is that anytime we step out of our gate in the areas where our people live, we are in a headscarf and skirt. However, around the house, in our yard, or in areas of the country where our people are not located, we can wear jeans and short sleeve shirt without our heads covered. Many times when we walk down the street to our supervisors house, we put a skirt on over jeans (it’s as cute as you think it is) and cover our heads and then immediately remove the hindrances as soon as we step inside their house. The times when it is most annoying is if we just want to go speak to someone or step outside and buy a piece of bread or coke. If we have been in our house, we will be dressed usually in sweats and a T-shirt. To go outside, we have to put on the full ensemble, which also usually includes makeup. The local women here have this beautiful chocolate colored skin, with dark lashes, big brown eyes, and beautiful smiles – they can wear anything in any color and it looks beautiful on them. Our pasty white skin often needs a little support from make up to keep us from looking like a really bad version of Cinderella (during her maid days) with our skirts and headscarves on.
So, if you’ve been wondering what is up with the clothing in the pictures – if I am in a skirt and headscarf, I am somewhere out in an area where our people live. If jeans and a t-shirt, I am in my house, yard, supervisor’s house, or another area where I am more free to dress how I am used to dressing!