YES Programs



Andrea Prepares for a Malian Wedding

Screen Shot 2011 11 09 At 4 18 17  Pm 0

I'm excited because tomorrow there's going to be a wedding and its going to be big and it’s going to take all day and I have pretty Malian clothing and the clothes matches my mom's outfit but our models are different and my hands have Henna and it’s so pretty.

The henna here is different though. I'm used to Middle Eastern henna, which is this green pasty substance that when it dries, flakes off and leaves the skin stained with a reddish/brown color. The henna here, is black, for one, like a gel, and gets washed off when it dries. There is also a very red henna which is even more like gel. That went on my hands.

My mom got a different sort of henna though. While I had a guy using drawing designs on my hands with henna, my mom had a woman who was applying tape to her feet, palms and fingertips, in geometrical patterns. Then, she applied henna to these areas, but this henna was green and like clay. The lady used her fingers to mold the henna to my mom’s feet, palm and fingertips, then covered them with plastic bags to let them dry. Later (like hours later), the henna got scraped off with a large knife, and the tape got taken off. So most of the foot had red henna, and where the tape was, there was unstained skin. Another powder was then applied to the foot (mixed with water, its grey, and kind of looks like ashes) and when this was later taken off (plastic bags for another 2 hours) the henna then looks black.

It’s really interesting, because the henna goes over the fingernails too, and then it’s like nail polish. I don't have henna on my nails though, just the top of my hands going down to each of the finger until it reaches the nail and then going up my wrist stopping halfway up my elbow.  As you can tell, I’m excited, because I feel like a real Malian now, which is pretty cool.

-Andrea Vielma, YES Abroad Mali Scholar, Grade 12