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The Streets Barber: sorprendentes historias de vagabundos a través de cortes de cabello

The Streets Barber: sorprendentes historias de vagabundos a través de cortes de cabello
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Es algo común, hasta podría decir que los barberos o peluqueros lo llevan en la sangre. Cada vez que vamos por un corte de cabello tienen la facilidad de socializar y platicar desde cosas banales, hasta verdaderos tratados sobre la existencia huamana, lo que es una realidad, es que hacen que el tiempo vuele sin darnos cuenta.

Nasir Sobhani también es uno de esos peluquero que le gusta socializar y conocer lo que las personas tienen que contar, la diferencia radica en que su trabajo lo hace en las calles de Melbourne en Australia, y no cobra por su trabajo, lo ofrece de forma gratuita a vagabundos por el simple hecho de hacer el bien a la sociedad.

La mejor forma de ayudar a un vagabundo es platicando con él

Nasir Sobhani, mejor conocido como The Streets Barber, tiene 26 años y después de pasar por una fuerte adicción a las drogas, ha decidido cambiar el rumbo y dedicarse a algo que el ama, cortar el cabello. Todo empezó un día en la peluquería donde trabaja, un adicto a la heroína solía limpiar las ventanas de la peluquería, pero un día se acerco a Nasir y le dijo que ese día cumplía un mes sin drogarse, así que quería un corte.

"En este momento, me di cuenta de que podía ayudar a fomentar el cambio de este tipo simplemente haciendo lo que me gusta hacer, así que tal vez, debería seguir haciéndolo".

Esa experiencia de compartir historias con alguien que entiende lo que él pasó y viceversa, le dio la idea de ayudar vagabundos y drogadictos a través de cortes de cabello y compartir historias mutuamente, ya que la mayoría de esta gente vive aislada por el rechazo de la sociedad, pero todos tienen algo que contar.

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Así que durante toda la semana trabaja en una peluquería de un barrio marginado en Melbourne, pero en sus días libres, sale a la calle y ofrece cortes de cabello y rasuradas gratuitas a vagabundos, sólo con la condición de intercambiar historias. Esto ha hecho que esos cortes sean una especie de terapia para estas personas, ya que están acostumbrados a pasar desapercibidos. Ya que alguien se interese en ellos y que los ayude sin pedir nada a cambio, es sin duda algo increíble.

"El poder de estos cortes de pelo, se encuentra en la construcción de conexiones con las personas que pasan la mayor parte de su tiempo en el aislamiento. No es muy común para mis clientes de la calle el poder hacer nuevos amigos."

Durante las tardes, Nasir acude a un grupo de pláticas espirituales, y aquí fue donde gente se ofreció a ayudarlo, para que diera a conocer su trabajo y esto inspirara a personas de todo el mundo. Así es como abrió su perfil de Instagram, desde donde enlaza todas sus vivencias a Twitter y Facebook, coloca fotos de las personas antes y después del corte, además de que nos cuenta de forma breve la historia de esa persona.

La semana pasada, consiguió el apoyo de un grupo de estudiantes que se dedican a grabar y editar vídeos, con lo que Nasir ha debutado en su propio canal de YouTube haciendo algo similar que con las fotografías, sólo que aquí nos narra la historia, conocemos en vídeo parte de su labor y cara de quienes reciben el corte.

"Amo a la gente, y amo cortar el cabello. Esta es mi pasión. Esto es lo que me hace feliz. La alegría que veo en una persona después de cortarle el cabello y cambiar su imagen me trae alegría. Yo solía ser un adicto a las drogas y no me preocupaba por nadie más. Ahora que estoy sobrio, servir a los demás es la mejor sensación. Compartir la voz de quienes no son escuchados es mi nueva droga. Me encanta ser The Streets Barber".

En todo su trabajo nos encontraremos con el hashtag #CleanCutCleanStart, que se ha transformado en su frase de batalla: De un corte limpio deriva un inicio limpio. Vamos, un nuevo inicio, el pretexto perfecto para arrancar nuevamente.

This is Mark. He's 28 years old. He hasn't had contact with his family for nearly a decade. I've known of Mark for a while now and would show him love everytime I bumped into him, and he would reciprocate with so much joy. You could tell he just wanted someone to talk to. Today when I saw him on the street, I asked if he'd be interested in a cut. His eyes lit up as he said "Ya man, I haven't had a chance to get groomed in 8 or 9 months." He told me he'd been homeless for 3 years. He said it wasn't drugs which led him to the streets - that although he uses both heroin and meth occasionally, he does so more for social reasons, so he can 'fit in' and feel like he has friends. He got kicked out of his accommodation 3 years ago and hasn't been able to land a proper job or home since. He suffers from mental illness too - "I'm really depressed and hear voices in my head, Nas" - he told me, and that's another reason why he's on the streets. He has no support system and doesn't really have friends. He is lonely and just wants people to show him love and accept him. He said he often thinks about reconnecting with his family, especially during Christmas and New Years when he's alone. Listening to his story I just felt sick to my stomach at how neglected he felt. He has no support system, no friends and no family to support him. He actually didn't even have proper clothes on! His jeans were ripped and falling off his waist. He had no underwear on, and his shirt was also ripped and dirty. I had to go the full 9 yards on the brother! I went and bought him a new outfit and really took my time grooming him - with a cut, beard trim, dry shampoo, aftershave, and style. Looking at him afterwards I was quite taken aback myself and told him "Mark, you look so good bro" and he responded with "I know, and I feel GREAT!". That response made me so happy and I just took his hand and said "I hope you realize you've made a friend for life now.. see you around soon." I love this guy - his sincerity and open heart. Thanks for opening my eyes, Mark. Bless. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber #thestreetsbarberproject

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Rachel. She is 28 years old and has one son. I was roaming the streets with my kit and Rachel walked by and said "hey, you're the guy that gives free haircuts to us street folk!" I said hi, and asked if she was keen to get a free cut, which she was. This made me particularly happy because that day I had my friend Saba (@monzaviyan) offering to do makeup for my female clients if they wanted it. Anyway, we started talking, and Rachel told me she had been on the streets since she was 13 years old. She didn't go into too much detail but told me that she really had a rough upbringing and that's why she ran away and got adopted by the streets. She told me she had been using heroin on and off for 15 years. My heart sank, knowing she was only 28. She explained that she started using in order to try and mask the trauma from her childhood. As a 13 year old, however, she didn't know how to use heroin so acquaintances on the street would shoot it into her veins for her. I was so shocked and saddened when I heard that - I couldn't say anything for a bit and cut her hair in silence. She continued to tell me that after a while she had to learn to do it herself. 15 years later she works as a street worker almost everyday. Her son, Xavier, is only one years old and the "joy of my life" she told me. She's hoping to leave Footscray and move to a less drug infested suburb for them to live in. She had dreams for the future but was a slave to the streets and drugs in the meantime. In terms of the cut, she told me that she hadn't had a proper haircut since she was 13. She asked me to go short on the sides, blending it up to the top, keeping the top longer and messy - bit of a pixie cut. I also gave her a dry shampoo, only to finish off with Saba applying her makeup which she was very eager to have done. When she saw what she looked like she couldn't believe it was her. Heck none of us could. I really wish Rachel and her son Xavier get a chance for a clean start. We all deserve a second chance, but Rachel never really got her first one. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber #thestreetsbarberproject

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Andrew, who celebrated his 36th birthday the day before I met him. He was sitting on the street with his partner, Carla, and they were both chatting to Charlie - a former street client. As usual, whenever I see a former street client I like to follow up and check in with them, asking them how they are doing. When I went up to Charlie to show her some love, she introduced me to Andrew and Carla and told them how I give free haircuts to the homeless on my day off. When Andrew heard that, his eyes lit up and he looked to Clara and said "can you believe that?" You see, Clara had promised Andrew a haircut as a birthday present but neither of them could afford a proper one so he was forced to delay his much desired haircut. I was more than happy to give him one so we got started! I asked what had led him to the streets and he told me that he had been an alcoholic for most of his life. The disease was rampant within his family and he grew up with alcohol always around at home. His mother passed away from alcoholism, which only added to his suffering. He was manipulated into trying heroin by one of his mother's friends - after being promised that he wont get addicted and it will help mask any pain and grief. Instantly he said he got hooked and as a result of being a slave to the drug it ruined his life and left him homeless for several years. In fact he told me him and Carla had recently shot up and used up any money they had in order to get that day's fix. This meant no food, no gifts, no haircut. Some birthday, huh? Andrew told me he had enough of this lifestyle and wanted his life back. I shared my story and how I just hit my 3 year sobriety mark last month. He asked how I stopped and I explained to him that rehab played a vital role in my recovery. I said how cutting hair - finding a passion, and serving others - has become my new drug. The feeling I got after his cut, when I saw his joy and beaming face, was better than any high I felt' #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber #thestreetsbarberproject

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Hasan. He's 32 years old and suffers from a heroin and meth addiction. He approached me, asking with a huge smile: "Hey, do you have time to give me a cut?". I told him to grab a seat and began cutting. I asked him if he wanted to share his story, and he just said "I'm homeless" - with a beautiful smile on his face, which he kept the entire time I spent with him. However he was shaking constantly, which I initially thought was because he felt cold. I asked if he wanted to wear my jacket for a bit to warm up but he said "I'm not cold... it's the withdrawal". When he said that it clicked - he was withdrawing from heroin. I asked him how he got into it and he told me about when he moved to Australia from Turkey at the age of 18. At the time he had no idea what drugs were. He just wanted to fit in and so he tried drugs with the only friends he had. Without knowing it, one day he began smoking heroin. Over the years he also began dabbling with meth and admitted to me that he has been diagnosed with drug induced schizophrenia. It was so sad to hear about a vulnerable immigrant wanting to fit in so bad in all the wrong ways that it had basically ruined his life. When I told him my story of addiction, I let him know that what I needed was to find a new way to occupy myself, to find a 'natural high' whatever that may be, and this was it: cutting hair and serving my community. I thanked him for letting me 'get high' with him by allowing me to cut his hair and he's like "no problem, mate - we're here for each other!" You see, this is exactly what I want to achieve with #cleancutcleanstart. Often, these beautiful street clients are forced to 'take' - whether it's money or food. We don't do much to encourage or support their confidence or self-esteem when we approach it this way. Instead I want to help them feel as though they are worthy of giving back. And they are! Let's create a sense of empathy not sympathy for our brothers and sisters on the streets. #thestreetsbarber #cleancutcleanstart

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Marcel. He is in his late 30's. I may state that many of my street clients are wonderful, sweet and pure souls but I can honestly say that no one, in my experience, has been as kind and and generous as Marcel. He has 4 kids, none of which he gets to see anymore. The mother of his children who was his first love and now ex-wife took them away from him several years back. When him and his wife were together, they would use drugs often and that led his wife to become a street worker in order to make an income to supply their habit. Marcel on the other hand was a musician. When they had their first child they both decided to kick the drugs and clean up. After their fourth child, Marcel lost lots of weight due to various stress and anxiety and his wife thought he was back on the gear again - which in turn led her to leave him and move to Western Australia. That destroyed Marcel's mental and emotional health, causing him to legitimately get back on the gear, which ultimately led him to the streets. He is a chronic alcoholic and drinks mostly to mask his pain from everything. He now busks around the streets of Footscray doing comedy and selling various art pieces. He told me at one point "Man, my kids should be here working and having fun with their dad right now". It was very dark and sad the way he said it. He wanted to keep his dreads but with a faded undercut, a cleanup on his mustache and facial hair. I finished him off with a dry shampoo and aftershave. After the cut he had a dollar coin and asked me if I had extra change to give him for a beverage and I told him I only had card and no cash - which he literally understood as me not having any money and he was like "aw man, take my last dollar". He thanked me, put it in my hand and walked away. I almost cried from that selfless gesture. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Janko. He's in his 40s and has no partner or children. When he approached me cutting another client he was very drunk and asked if I could give him a cut when I was finished. I told him of course and that I'd be finished soon. He waited his turn patiently and when it was time for him he sat down and told me he wanted a number 2 all over - which he later admitted was because he didn't know when his next cut would be. I asked him about his life story and he told me that he was homeless because his old landlord kicked him out of his place and ever since then he hasn't found a place. I told him my story and my addiction issues in the past and how I derive my happiness and joy these days from serving others, and that in a sense cutting hair is how I 'get high'. At this point Janko begins laughing at me, telling me "man you're a tripper" and then points to his bottle and says "this is how I get high" as he kept laughing. We began speaking about why he drinks besides the fact that he claimed he loves the stuff and is drunk from sunrise to sundown, and then he told me something very interesting. He said 'Im alone and have no one to listen to or tell me what to do - and because of that I always get my way'. Because of that, he said, if he wanted to drink he would drink. I listened to him, then asked him if he liked being alone. He said no. I asked if he maybe drinks as much as he does because he was alone and had no one and he said.."yeah, that's a possibility". After this, Janko was silent and didn't speak for a while then decided to tell me that he was proud of me. He envied the fact that I was able to use natural means to find true happiness. It was so heart-warming when he said that and it gave me newfound inspiration to continue doing what I'm doing. It amazed me that within a few moments I went from being ridiculed to being the recipient of kind words. I hope he finds someone to help him get the confidence to also find natural means for happiness. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Chris. He was 21 years old when I met him and his birthday was the following day. He has no family which he can contact or be with - he has basically been entirely alone for the past 11 years. He has been on the streets and homeless since he was 10. Yeah, I know, insane but a sad reality. I asked him how that's possible and his reason gave me chills. "I hated having to constantly wear extra layers and warm clothing at school when it was hot" he said quietly. I asked him what he meant by that and he said that it was to cover up the bruises from getting hit by his dads. "Dads?!" I said, and he replied "Ya, both by my real dad and also my step-dad". He elaborated and told me that he was mostly with his mom and step-dad - who was very abusive and beat him. Then his mom sent him to live with his 'real dad' and the abuse kept coming. There was no escape and he had more than he could take, so he took sanctuary to the streets. At the age of 11 he found himself smoking ice and eventually got into heroin too. When I met him he was very timid and shy and so the few people I was with had left, allowing for a more intimate session which allowed him to open up and be more comfortable. However, I think it's best that I keep what he said between us for some things are just better to stay at the shop - which are the streets to me. He had been wearing a beanie for ages which made his hair on the WHOLE back of his head into one deadlock. I had to cut away using scissors slowly and carefully. I couldn't give him any style due to the fact that his hair was so dead. We shaved his head, then his face. It was difficult to shave his neck (under his chin) due to the open sores he had from the meth use but he insisted he wanted to clean up - so I did the best I could. We finished off with a thorough dry shampoo and aftershave treatment. He looked at the mirror and was the happiest I had seen him since I had met him - which warmed my heart. He never got the chance to properly experience a childhood, let alone his youth. Hopefully in his 22nd year and beyond he'll be able to start experiencing more positivity, love and happiness in his life. Happy birthday Chris

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Ganesh. He is 34 years old and has one daughter. He immigrated to Australia with his mother and brother almost 20 years ago - his father abandoned them in Fiji. Upon arrival at the age of 15, he met a girl. He fell head over heels for her, and she soon became his first love. They got a home together and had a baby daughter. Things were great for him until he found out she was having an affair. After finding out, he didn't leave her - she left him. After she left, she took his daughter with her and then his home. Distraught, broken, and alone, he was forced to live on the streets in his misery. He took up heroin in order to try his best to mask the pain of heartbreak. To this day he says - 10 years later - he's still not over her and hasn't been able to settle down. Thankfully, by the grace of his mother's love she took him into her home and did her best to do what a mother does best - nurture her youngest son. Since then, he has become a full-time carer for his oldest brother Vic (future story) and does his best to try and kick his occasional heroin habit - which has been too hard to kick since his time on the streets. The last time he tried getting a haircut the clipper died halfway through his cut, so he was forced to wear an unfinished cut. When I asked him what he wanted me to do, he said "whatever you want bro, just help make my beard look clean because I want to keep it". So I hooked him up with with a skin fade, beard trim, a line up, and put aftershave on him to not only feel fresh but to look fresh too. When I showed him the mirror, I took a video of his reaction. Make sure to check it out :) #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarberproject #thestreetsbarber

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Vic. He is Ganesh's (previous story) older brother. Due to his mental illness, getting to hear his story wasn't the easiest. He just sat there with a half smile on his face for the most part. His brother Ganesh and I spoke about when and how the mental illness came about, and it was only within the last 10-15 years - and it's suspected to be drug induced. Since then his brother Ganesh has been his official caretaker since Vic's diagnosis, and does everything he can to make sure his older brother is ok. Vic was a very sweet man, and seemed so innocent. It's sad to see such a beautiful soul being robbed of mental health from such meaningless substances. However, the most joyous part of our time together was when he got a chance to see his new do. Even though he didn't say much, his smile when he looked at the mirror said a thousand words. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarberproject #thestreetsbarber

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Philip. He is 48 years old and sells The Big Issue - which is a street newspaper published in four continents. It is written by professional journalists and sold by homeless individuals.The Big Issue is one of the UK's leading social businesses and exists to offer homeless people, or individuals at risk of homelessness, the opportunity to earn a legitimate income, thereby helping them to reintegrate into mainstream society. I was also told that it employs people suffering from mental illness and/or physical disabilities. It is the world's most widely circulated street newspaper. When I got a chance to work with the crew at @homelessofmelbourne at the HoMie store I got to meet Phil and give him this much needed grooming session. On that day all the Big Issue vendors got a chance to recieve a new outfit from the folks at @homie_melb and a fresh new haircut and shave from me. I was quite glad with the outcome of this cut - and judging by his smile I think Phil was too :). #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

This is Mark. 38 years old and has no kids. He has been on heroin for almost 11 years now. He started using because he said there was this woman he knew who was always happy who lived on the streets. She had no money and was on the "gear" (slang term for drugs). He said to me, "I was going through a rough patch with my family and I had money and a home - but I was sad. I wanted what she had!" So he hung out with her more and eventually got into heroin which changed his life for the worse. I asked him if he still sees the woman now and he said yes. Then I asked him if she's still always happy and he's like "No man, definitely not." I guess things changed and the party stopped. Which was also the case with Mark. He wanted to stop using but couldn't. He continued telling me some really sad stories which I dont feel are fit for Instagram but after hearing them I told him that he had a really sad life story. He replied "that's just the way life is." I felt quite upset after hearing that because that shouldn't be what life is. I told him "Mark, this may seem like nothing but if I can do anything for you to become clean and get off the gear I'm here for you. I'm not only your barber but I'm your mate." He looked at me stunned and said "No one's ever said that to me man. Thanks so much, I appreciate it." I'm hoping that his outlook improved after that haircut, and he started feeling more positive. Unfortunately I didn't get to get an 'after' photo because he was rushing to make a sale to make a living, but I really hope we cross paths again soon. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber

Una foto publicada por Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) el

Más información | The Streets Barber
En Magnet | Fue Marine de los EE.UU. y ahora es un vagabundo que toca el piano de una forma asombrosa

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