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

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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. They pull 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. He's 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

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Assigned 24 times

  • DunhamS-4
    11/07/2014 - 09:33 a.m.

    This article was about an animal barber, or a qassasseen, named Mohamed Mufasa. People consider him the best qassasseen in Cairo. Mohamed has even been injured several types by horses he sheers. He sheers donkeys, horses, and dogs. Dogs are the most challenging to sheer. He may be the best qassasseen, but his profession is still looked down upon. He does this because his fathers profession was a qassasseen. He has even started teaching his 5 year old son how to sheer animals. I personally do not think this sounds like a very good job. It seems quite dangerous and a little bit gross. If all you do all day is sheer the hair of of african street roaming animals, it would seem your'e pretty miserable.

  • brandkelly
    11/07/2014 - 09:39 a.m.

    In this article you learn about a group of people that are giving horses and donkeys haircuts right a top of their mane. Long hair is very uncomfortable for donkeys. I think a great idea for these men and women to cut this animals hair if it keeps animal healthier.

  • LaurenT-1
    11/07/2014 - 09:59 a.m.

    Mohamed Mustafa is an animal barber, or qassasseen in Cairo. His grandfather and father had his position and he is planning on giving it to his son one day. It is a dangerous and often disrespected job, but Mohamed takes pride in his job and he is good at his job and often hired.
    I think that it is amazing to follow your father's lead and like it as much as Mohamed does. And to turn a disrespected job into a respectedman with the job is even more amazing.

  • isabellav-Fra
    11/07/2014 - 10:07 a.m.

    Wow, he is really brave. I would not want to be hit by a horse or have your finger bitten off. I would give a dog a hair cut but not big animals.

  • kiahc-Fra
    11/07/2014 - 10:13 a.m.

    I think this is a good way to earn a living, but it can be very dangerous. Like that guy lost a finger and had a scar on his face from a horse. OUCH! It is good that they take care of their animals because they do so much for you!!

  • hannahh-Fra
    11/07/2014 - 10:15 a.m.

    3 dollars to 5 dollars is a very good deal for just getting an animal trim. Especially horses considering all the crazy things you can do to their hair! It also seems like a pretty good job accept the part about a horse biting his finger off! Otherwise if I lived in Cairo I would go to this shop to get my animals' trims.

  • morganb-Fra
    11/07/2014 - 11:41 a.m.

    It's nice that he will cut the animals hair for a very little amount. It's also interesting, I didn't know there were animal barbers, I wonder how it started and how they got into the bussnes.

  • BANA454545
    11/07/2014 - 12:08 p.m.

    That is so weird that they have a job for cutting Donny hair and cutting dog hair and cat hair i wounder if they get payed for that type of job.

  • Hugh12345678901234567890123456
    11/07/2014 - 12:11 p.m.

    Because of the smell of all the animals he gives a "haircut" to, he would have to take a nice long shower every time gets home.

  • Big_Fluffy_Giant
    11/07/2014 - 12:30 p.m.

    That's awesome a donkey getting a haircut. If I had a donkey I'll get an mo-hawk. But they're pretty crazy because that guy lose his finger from a horse I would have quit right when I get the chance.

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