"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...