Paint Splatter

The Barbershop Experience

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During the early stages of COVID, it was important that we remained in home quarantine until further notice. This also meant we would not have access to hair salons or barbershops for a very long time. We had no idea the impact this would make on so many. At the time, our small team of gentleman in the Dominican Republic continued to grow their hair out until facial features started to disappear. As the world started to open up, it wasn’t the haircut that gave us relief but the energy of this newly discovered barbershop.

While driving on the scooters we spotted, Rafael Barberia, a barbershop hidden in the busy intersections of Bani. As we walked in, we noticed the safety measures they had taken. The barbers were wearing masks and only the clients they worked on were allowed in their shop. We immediately felt safe. We were also drawn to the energy of the small shop. Not only the classic salsa music blasting into the streets but the on-going shop banter between barbers and customers. It felt comfortable and exciting.

We fumbled around with our Google translation app, when suddenly we heard, “What state are you from?” English! This made things a lot easier on us. Hector, one of the barbers, spoke beautiful english and told us he lived in the states for many years. He invited us to sit down in the chairs as the barbers couldn’t help but laugh at our “messy” hair.

The 3 of us admitted we’ve never had a proper face shave or haircut from a professional barber. This new experience was mind blowing to us. Not only was the right amount of care taken, but the camaraderie between the 4 barbers was amazing to watch. It was a breath of fresh air to be around positive and energetic business owners. After all, we’ve been trapped in the guest house for months. We discussed everything from sports, travel, different cultures and of course hair styles. They took pride in their work and it showed. The one subject that was never brought up was COVID. This gave us a chance to feel “normal” for an hour.

Today, we continue to go back and connect with Bani’s greatest barbers. They help us feel good and certainly make our days ahead much brighter.

Thank you, Rafael Barberia.


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About 4North


The 4North Project is a nonprofit focused on integrating volunteer travel and sustainable solutions in the Dominican Republic. We are about helping communities thrive, providing social impact in different ways, and empowering developing communities and our volunteers.