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Varsity student operates barber shop to survive

By Mandela Nelson Denis

Ocan Charles, a 26 year old  student of University of Juba has found fortune in shaving hair at one of the barbershop in Munuki.

Many have found fortune in the oil and gas industry and working in National or International Organizations but Ocan calls shaving hair his oil and gas.

Ocan makes around four thousand to six thousand South Sudanese pounds every day from his shaving skills that he learnt from Kaya border of Uganda and South Sudan.

What started as a managerial job at one of the Barbershop owned by his in law in Kaya has now become the main source of income for his wellbeing and the wellbeing of family and relatives.

Having moved to Juba in 2016, Ocan started off his journey to shaving hair and gaining more skills at a local Barber shop in Gudele and three years down the road when his skills earned him a lot of clients, Ocan moved to Munuki, one of Juba’s busiest centers.

We all know what happened in 2016 but this did not discourage Ocan even after losing some good amount of money he had saved to start his own barber shop.

“Shaving hair was not my destiny but due to the situation I was in, I forced myself to learn and today I am here loving it and even earning more than those in offices”, said Ocan.

Doing development studies at University of Juba has been made by the earnings that Ocan gets from his daily work of shaving hair and part of the money he gets goes to paying his siblings in Uganda.

Ocan revealed that most people struggle waiting for end of month to come, money comes daily in his pocket and he also bragged of being the smartest student at University of Juba.

Ocan’s story might be a braggart one but he has strong message to the youth out there who despise jobs with the hope of having white collar jobs.

“What is killing us the youth is we want white collar Jobs which are hard to find this day unless you are connected every well in the society but for us whose parents are peasants, we should take any job that comes our way for survival”, Ocan said.

At twenty-six years Ocan has reviled the burden of his parents struggling to pay his tuition fees and that of his sibling, as from the work he does he is able to cater.

Ray Morgan, a regular client of Ocan described Ocan as a humble young man making a difference in the community and a role model to many.

“The first time I met Ocan, he looked so humble and down to earth and when he saved me, I have never looked back, I have been doing all my hair cuts from him for the last two years and he is great,” said Ray.

Ocan spoke a client who works in Geneva and shaves in Juba after every two months.

“I have this guy who stays in Juba but works in Geneva, so he would come and I shave him each time he is in the country and then gets back to be shaved after months, he pays me dollars every time I work on his hair”,Ocan said.

The secret of having so many clients as Ocan put it is doing your best to make the person happy and that person will recommend another and the network keeps on growing.

South Sudanese celebrities, politicians, government officials and students are majority of Ocan’s clients.

Shaving at times comes with injuries that may lead to infection because of not knowing the client’s health status but Ocan said that he is very careful while shaving and he added that he has never caused any injury to any clients.

“it is the unprofessional Barber men that will cut you in the process of shaving but me, before I shave any one, I will ensure that the machine and the blades are all in place because when you cut a client, he or she will never come back,” said Ocan.

Ocan adjusting his Machine

The sky is the limit and Ocan hopes he will be able to open his own Barbershop in the near future so as to train and employ other young South Sudanese.

Ocan studies from eight in the morning to midday every day and the rest of the time he spends at the Barber shop doing his work.

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