Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bronzed and bearded

"Are you keeping the beard?" Jay asked. It was the fourth morning since our 11-person team had arrived in Sierra Leone and Jay was the first to comment on my lack of grooming.

"While I'm in Sierra Leone, yes," I answered, "but I intend to shave at least most of it off before we leave."

Jay shook his head. "Don't do it, man. It looks good on you!"

As I type this post at home in Calgary, two hours after my return, I still haven't shaven.

Our project in Sierra Leone was to build a school, foundation and all. I'm not the most physically able person for such work, but I toiled every day with the rest of the team. With the temperature often in the 30s (40s, counting humidity), I was applying sun screen every day to protect myself.

The trip was nearly over before anyone asked me about the sun screen. On our second last day of construction, Braydon inquired about borrowing mine and I explained I was wearing a sweat/water resistant SPF 60 sun screen. At this, Joel chimed in: "You've been wearing SPF 60 the whole time? And you still got a tan?"

And he was right. Although in the early days of the trip the sun didn't seem to affect me at all, by the second week I was clearly browning. And so I am now.

I knew I would be in the sun, but I did not plan to tan; I knew I would forgo shaving for a while but did not plan to wear a beard. Like so many things in Africa, you learn to accept the way things are.

More to follow...


Nitz the Bloody said...

Thor had a beard during the later part of Walt Simonson's run, and that was the high point of the character's existence. I'm sure your bearding will only increase your appeal, as well.

Oh, and welcome back!

Anonymous said...

Keep the beard! Beards are cool! And, despite what you have heard, many women like beards (although a few despise them), so the beard shouldn't really be an issue!

Michael Hoskin said...

Thank you Nitz, I'm trying to feel good about being back. It's a lot to process.

Thank you for the encouragement, Matt, but I know from past experience that it takes just one person mocking the beard to make me shave (especially if said person is female).