28 July 2007

I'm no Rappunzel

[7/23/07 OUTSIDE MAHAJANGA, MADAGASCAR --- Dear Ben, Josephine, 30, and her mother, Totovaiaux, 85, sell small food and drink items from their palm-leaf house in northeast Madagascar, near the coast. They come from the Tsy Mihety cultural group, which believes that it is taboo, or forbidden, for a person to cut his or her hair. It literally means "Don't Cut Hair." These two find that tradition cumbersome and a bit silly; and, like other Malagasy people who are moving to cities, they are abandoning some aspects of their cultural traditions. In Africa, the rate at which people are moving to cities is increasing faster than on any other continent. It will be interesting to see what affect that has on culture…. Hope you are doing well, John]

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