Wednesday, February 23, 2011


As a Canadian living and volunteering in Cambodia, I continue to learn every day, and never cease to be fascinated by things I would classify as typical or mundane back home.  I hope you also find some of these things entertaining.

Every day after lunch, the children at Honour Village go upstairs to their dormitories for an hour or two of quiet time.  I've come to respect that a midday nap is a natural (and expected) part of everyday life here in this hot climate (similar to 'siesta' time in Mexico).   So a couple of days ago when Chhunnly summoned all the boys right after lunch and assembled them behind the new building, I knew something was up.

Somewhere during lunchtime, a barber had arrived equipped with a rucksack full of all the necessary tools of his trade.  These boys were about to have their hairstyles transformed from mop-heads into militia.  Three chairs stacked on one another raised the first boy up to the proper height, and the shearing began, while the next victims looked on with fascination.

Using old-fashioned mechanical hand clippers, a comb and scissors, the barber deftly snipped and clipped, and presto, chango!  See for yourself!
 No electricity needed

The first victim.... er, customer.
Roeurn scratches his head in the background.

Taking 'a little' off the side
To the left, Sopheak checks out the barber's technique.

Riem's new 'do'

Chea looks much cooler

These two little guys needed hats
to prevent sunburn on their newly exposed scalps.

You've got to admit that in a hot climate, a short haircut probably helps, and I'm betting it keeps down the population of head lice too, which is nearly epidemic here.  But still, seeing all these closely cropped (scalped) heads makes me wonder if the words 'barber' and 'barbarian' come from the same root word?

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