Eritrean opens up about missing UK family during haircut
I think we can all agree on how much we’ve missed the hairdressers – there’s nothing better than feeling tidy again!
For refugees in Calais, it’s no different. Getting regular haircuts gives people a sense of dignity and is an important boost to their confidence.
At our distribution this week the hairdressing station was more popular than usual – maybe because the sun was finally out after a bout of rainy days. So many people were queuing up to get their hair trimmed by their friends that we had to create a seating area for those who wanted a quicker treatment. Others decided to just go for it and get their beards trimmed while sitting on the grass!
One man in particular could not have been happier to see us. He was first in line to get his hair and beard trimmed, which his friend patiently took care of for almost an hour. And we could see why it took so long: I’ve never seen someone create such a professional-looking hair fade with just a few basic tools and small disposable blades.
The 28-year-old Eritrean had lived in Malta for seven years before coming to Calais. His English was amazing, so I got to hear a lot about his experience. He told me about how his brothers – one just 17, and the other a few years older than him – were living in Birmingham. The older brother works for a building contractor and his younger sibling is currently studying.
He couldn’t stop telling me about how he really wanted to go and meet them in the UK. He missed them so much – it had been years since they last saw each other.
Being in Calais means hearing a lot of sad stories like that – so many of them have been separated from their family and friends. But you wouldn’t be able to tell by their faces: they’re always smiling and friendly, happily chatting away to us while getting their haircut. They take so much pride in their appearance. It’s a real privilege to be able to help them keep that feeling alive.
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