Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wrapped In

I attended a workshop on how to tie head wraps held at Princess Margaret Hospital, a leading cancer care facility in Toronto. This workshop was delivered by Naza of For the People Canada. I had seen Naza with her t-shirt and headwrap displays at countless festivals in Toronto over the years, namely Afrofest. I always wanted to learn more ways to wrap my hair so when I was at Gilda's Club, another cancer support facility, and saw a pamphlet advertising the head wrap workshop, I knew I had to participate. When most people think of cancer, they associate it with hairloss. However this is not always the case. Patients who receive chemotherapy treatments often lose their hair. Some of these women cover it using wigs, hats, or other head garments. Cancer patients, like me, who receive radiation, may have hair thinning and very little hairloss. Regardless, hair wraps offer a beautiful headcovering alternative to express oneself culturally.

When I was there, I met Naza, an enthusiastic petite young East African-Canadian woman. There were a few other women who attended, almost all of whom were Caribbean-Canadians like myself. Besides the most obvious thing we shared in common (our skin colour), we also wore our hair (or until very recently) in dredlocks. At the workshop, I learned more about support activities for cancer patients and head wrap tying techniques. This workshop was free to cancer patients and I also got this free conscious head wrap too. (Free is the operative word here.) We also talked about the need for cancer advocacy and awareness in the African-Caribbean Canadian community since cancer is still a very taboo topic. We recognize that there are people in the Black community who have cancer but it remains hidden and nobody talks about it. We recognize that needs to change especially since a cancer diagnosis can be so isolating (which does not help the healing process) and early detection is the best prevention.



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