As I packed my bags to make my way home to Haiti once again, I must have packed and repacked my cosmetic bags at least six times with my personal items. Suntan lotion (yes us colored girls like a little bit more color too), sunscreen (we use this too), and of course lip glosses which are a must. My favorite two-toned gloss, Rose Gardenia from Kissable Couture, was in a secret, safe place. As were my nail colors from Dior (three shades) and waterproof mascara from Maybelline.
Although I am a firm believer that black skin somehow occasionally cheats the aging process, I can't prove it, yet. So for the moment I will continue to use Morganna's Alchemy, Morganna's Charm. Which is said to erase age spots... just in case the theory that "Black Don't Crack" isn't entirely true.
On I go continuing to pack my bags: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, and last but not least L'Occitane Masque Ultra Confort Hypoallergenique. Bathing suit, shorts, dress, shoes, sandals, one great book, and a giving spirit to deal with what I was about to see. All these things, fitting into one duffel bag.
Yet, this isn't about my packing technique, but about the generous hearts of all my friends and colleagues who answered my call to give to the girls in Haiti. Sanitary napkins donated by Maxim Hygiene, beauty expert and author of Commander In Chic Mikki Taylor and Sandra Martin. Tons of toothpaste and toothbrushes and hand sanitizers donated by Health Plus. The moisturizers, the shampoos, the body washes, and basic staple pieces every girl should have were put in backpacks. Enough items for 100 girls had to be pack and repacked to fit into four suit cases my associate John Lucas and I had to carry. We must have packed three times in one night. Not counting the previous day when I asked author of The Melt Down of a Sweet Black Cat, Madafi Pierre to come over and wrap some 100 skirts that designer Sue Rock and the Van Heusen generously gave.
How in heaven was I going to make this happen?
I finally land in Port- Au-Prince, Haiti and drive down a dusty road on broken ground. I appreciated New York City roads even more. And then Jessica Simpson came to my mind. Jessica had this amazing show called The Price of Beauty, where it took us around the world showing us the various ways in which women worked their daily routine to be beautiful. I thought it was brilliant.
If you think the streets of Brooklyn have at least two or three nail and beauty salons on every block, or that Harlem has a Barber shop on every corner and Atlanta is the mecca of hair competition, wait until you come to Haiti. You haven't seen anything yet! Whether you are rich or poor in this country your hair must be done. Braids, relaxers, extensions, hair is the name of the game here. I even saw a mobile barber shop. Unbelievable.
They are even worshippers of water. The children were constantly under water. When the heavens opened up and the God of rain weeped to earth the beautiful brown babies came out with arms wide open and praised him for his gift of tears that washed away the dust of the day and the problems that the broken earth had presented them with.
For those moments they danced in joy as they danced to the rhythm of the waters that fell upon their feet and that exact moment peace of mind was theirs.
The gift of water is a powerful thing.
I tremble at the thought of torrential rain back home as we suffered the wrath of Irene, knowing the damages that she caused or may cause. But here in this place called Haiti, where for some it could mean devastation, for others, innocent ones who don't know the damage it can bring, it was joy.
It not only washed away the skin and prepared it for the many products they seemed to be obsessed with, moisturizer, eau de parfum, sprays upon sprays of it. But they used that time to wash their beautiful tight curly hair and combed out the natural locks that tightly coiled to their scalp, and "greased," moisturized their scalps with the various products to prepare it for the artistic form of braids they were going to adorn their heads with. Ah, the skills of a people. The gift of artists. The Price of Beauty! No wonder the beauty industry is a billion dollar industry. So many people all looking to entice the eye of the beholder.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but in some bottles behold things in them that can enhance what the eyes can see.
Aiyiti Cheri, you are sweet indeed.
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