There is great pride in being a “barber, not hair stylist” in Cuba. Barber shops were some of the first businesses in Cuba to go private in the 1990s.
According to Josefina Hernandez Torres, a Cuban barber, this privatisation has liberated her. Josefina is immensely proud of the freedom she has engineered herself since the privatisation of the sector, “we are now free”. There is now no reason to complain about state salaries and “having bosses” – we hear you Josefina.
Being her own boss allows her to avoid low salaries by being “entrepreneurial”. Currently very few products required by barbers are available in Cuba. She relies on donations from the public and is incredibly honest about her fluctuating pricing dependant on who’s in the chair – if it’s a “foreigner, we charge them $5″… Josefina! This is a big raise on weekly income so they champion the odd curious traveller.
So if you find yourself in Cuba, we suggest you fill your Bum Bag with Shaving Cream. It will not only help the local trade – you may also get charged the local rate.
If you want to immerse yourself in the Cuban barbering world take a look at this:
Image: Getty images