Everyone needs a haircut sometime  even donkeys Mohamed Mustafa, right, clips the mane of a donkey as his father, Mahmoud, left, holds an ear at their makeshift barbershop in Cairo, Egypt (AP photos)
Everyone needs a haircut sometime even donkeys
Lexile

In the shadow of Cairo's medieval aqueduct, Mohamed Mustafa teaches his 5-year-old son the Egyptian family's trade, one shear at a time.

Mohamed is one of Cairo's donkey barbers, an expert in trimming and styling horses, camels, mules, sheep, goats, dogs and donkeys. He is a third-generation qassasseen. That is the Egyptian Arabic term for animal barbers.

Mohamed's grandfather worked in Cairo's Abdeen Palace. His father, Mahmoud, taught him the trade and now he teaches the craft to his son Mustafa.

It is a profession often looked down upon in Egyptian society. Mustafa works with the beasts of burden that still roam modern Cairo's streets, pulling carts filled with vegetables or loads of trash from neighborhoods. But workers rely on the animals and take pride in them, getting them haircuts or having their fur shaved with designs or even their initials ahead of major holidays.

"There are a lot of other people who do this job. But he (Mohamed) is gentle and his prices are gentle too," says Abdulrahman Ibrahim, a cart driver who stopped by Mohamed's outdoor shop to get his horse's monthly trim.

Mohamed charges between 20 and 30 Egyptian pounds ($3 to $5) per customer. Each appointment takes him less than 30 minutes to finish, depending on the order, and the animal's sensitivities.

"All the horses are clever. In fact all the donkeys, cows and dogs are clever. Without a doubt, dogs will slip out from under you," he says.

But the work is dangerous. Later in his family's one-room home, Mohamed traces to a scar across his right jaw with a finger missing its first joint.

"One horse bit my finger off, another horse hit me here," Mohamed says, pointing to a scar on his jaw visible through a thick beard.

Despite that, Mohamed takes pride in his work.

"People love us because they trust the quality of work between us," he says. "They loved my father, and my work is like my father's work."

Critical thinking challenge: What does Abdulrahman Ibrahim mean by and his prices are gentle, too

Filed Under:  
Assigned 7 times


COMMENTS (6)
  • BDevlin-Cas
    11/08/2014 - 06:52 p.m.

    That is very funny. I hear girls complain about all the new haircuts. Now even donkeys are getting them. I love that Mohamed is proud of the haircut he gave the donkey.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    What an odd job. A grooming service like that must be popular in Cairo, but i fear that it would not do as well in the U.S. Still, it's good to these people care about their animals to that extent, which is something we can all relate to.

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    11/10/2014 - 01:15 p.m.

    He means that not only does he take his job seriously and cautiously, he also does not require such huge prices on his deals for whenever he cuts their fur.

  • JacobM-5
    11/10/2014 - 08:09 p.m.

    This article is about a animal barber in Egypt that gives haircuts to animals. This is common in Egypt. It talks about how good he is with his job as well with hoe fair he is price wise. Another thing in the article is some dangers in this. One danger was being bitten or kicked by an animal. I thought this article was interesting because i did not know about animal barbers before and how had it was.

  • alizel-Koc
    11/12/2014 - 12:01 a.m.

    I believe that it's okay for a donkey to receive a hair cut, because dogs & cats get them so why not? People may see it as ridiculous, because it's a donkey. Not the type of animal that would be original for a haircut in comparison to a dog or cat. & I think by gentle, he meant about the donkey's characteristics.

  • RM00charlie
    11/12/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    he means that for doing something as rare as he does the prices are reasonable for anyone to take advantage of and use. he wont charge unreasonable prices for something that is rare and when some take it to consideration for having thee pets trimmed during the holidays

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT