I was blessed to be the daughter of a beautician and never had to worry about doing my hair for 40 years of my life. After my mother died a little over sixteen years ago, I decided to use my struggle to do my own hair to teach the inner-city youth in the program that I volunteered with the importance of being true to yourself. I allowed them to cut all of the permed hair on my head off so that all that was left was my natural hair. It was a terrifying experience, but it was also a freeing one.
Eight years later, I took another step of faith to start growing dreadlocks as I celebrated my 49thbirthday in route to my year of jubilee. My decision to loc my hair came after years of frustration. For 8 years, I wrestled with my hair and how I might have a style that was both natural and acceptable to wear in public and on my job. For about 4 of those years, I regularly wore scarves to cover my hair so that I would not have to do anything to it. I finally got up the nerve to take the leap into locs after attending a natural hair event at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham. At that time, I was no one’s employee and had been self-employed for nearly3 years.
It was not only a physical struggle that I was going through, but it was a very emotional struggle. As a African American professional female, who worked for NC Mutual Life Insurance Company for 19 years, I learned to love and appreciate my African heritage and took advantage of opportunities to display my cultural identity whenever I could. Locking my hair would not only be another opportunity to embrace my ethnic identity, but it would also be an outward expression of my refusal to be enslaved any longer to the societal norms that said that I had to straighten my hair with chemicals or a hot comb and spend sometimes nearly an hour a day to style my hair. Not to even speak of all of the money that I spent going to salons and on the multitude of hair care products.
It has taken 8 years for my locs to grow the length that they are. Though, not all the same length, most of my locs are more than 20 inches long. Since day one, I have regularly visited a loctician to clean and style my locs. There was only one year early on in the locking process that I attempted to wash and style my locs by myself. But was grateful when I found my current loctician who has really done an excellent job of helping me care for my locs and keeping me “presentable.” It is rare that I don’t get several compliments on my hair after my visits to see Tanya Saidou.
While my loc-life has been awesome, I have embraced eight years as my alarm clock for awakening me to new beginnings and am open to a change for the glory of God and for the benefit of others.
Many may know that in 2016 I had a life-changing experience when I took my first journey to Uganda on one of three mission trips that I would make. Every trip is filled with opportunities to deliver supplies, provide healthcare, serve meals, lead workshops and much more. On my most recent mission trip in 2018, I had the opportunity to meet with the accountant for Bringing Hope to the Family (a ministry that supports a baby house, orphanage, primary school, medical clinic and crisis pregnancy center in Kaihura) to observe and learn more about the processes and reporting she handles.
During our meeting I learned that the organization owns software that is not being used due to the lack of training necessary to implement the software. After sharing that I have nearly 10 years of experience using the software, I was asked to consider an extended trip of 1 – 2 months to help her learn how to effectively use the software for their organization. The training will significantly improve her accounting and reporting capability. If the opportunity presents itself and God is willing, I hope to be able to fulfill her request next year.
Each time that I travel to Uganda, it costs me $3,000 for travel, lodging, meals, ground transportation and projects for two weeks. For an extended stay, it will cost an additional $300 per month. Each time that I have gone, the Lord has seen to it that I have the funds that I need, plus funds to do some of the other work that we do in Uganda.
Those who know me best know that I am whole-heartedly committed to learning how to surrender all that I am to follow Jesus Christ, so it would be no surprise to them that I would consider cutting off my locs, especially if it will bless others. As I approach November 2, my 57th birthday, the day that I am scheduled to cut off my locs and a time of “new beginnings,” I am asking friends, family and anyone who is willing and able to donate generously at one of the levels below by November 30. However, any amount will be very much appreciated.
The official count of my locs is 77.
1. $ 0.25 Per loc = $19.25
2. $ 0.50 Per loc = $38.50
3. $ 0.75 Per loc = $57.75
4. $ 1.00 Per loc = $77.00
I have no idea if I will come anywhere close to reaching this goal that will allow me to cover the costs for my trip, but if I exceed that goal, any additional funds will go to other mission organizations (including the Lott Carey Convention and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church) or other mission-like projects that need support.
You can give through my GoFundMe page here or you may mail a check directly to me, Cecelia Horton, at PO Box 52266, Durham, NC 27717-2266.
As a final note I am also happy to say that my loctician does hair for women who struggle with thinning hair and is planning to use my cut locs to help those women. Blessings to you!!!
After cutting out perm
Locs styled by Tanya
The current length of my locs
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