Barber donates equipment and conducts training on safe practice 

Service:  It hardly takes five minutes to cut a monk’s hair as the preferred style is clean shave, but the Woesel Choeling monastery in Rangjung will have a proper saloon to cater to the monks.

Initiated by barber Ugyen Deepak of Trashigang town, the saloon that will cater to about 300 monks is equipped with all the materials needed for clean and hygienic haircut. The monks shave their head once a month, on every eight-day of the Bhutanese calendar and Ugyen Deepak said it was not hygienic as monks take turns to shave.

For the barber, there is more than using a blade and shaving the head. “There are risks of spreading contagious diseases. “Most of the monks were still not aware that sharing of blades could lead to the spread of contagious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B,” Ugyen Deepak said. “This initiative provided me with the best platform to advocate them on safe practices.”

Ugyen Deepak volunteered to set up the fully equipped saloon and train monks and nuns as a gratitude to the country for granting him Bhutanese citizenship. The three-day hands on training that concluded on October 4 also included awareness program on safe practices and risks involved. He also donated equipment like clippers, mirrors, razors and aprons worth Nu 120,000 to the monastery and the Thegchog Kuenzang Choden nunnery besides training four nuns and 14 monks of the monasteries.

Drungchen of the Woesel Choeling, Lopen Tenzin Choeda said the saloon would benefit more than 300 monks and nuns and help maintain cleanliness inside the monastery.

“It is compulsory to shave our heads every month. It was quite a messy business with several groups of monks scattered at different spots to shave their heads,” Lopen Tenzin Choeda said.

The training, he said, gave monks and nuns an insight into the use of proper and hygienic haircut practices while also making them aware of the high risks involved with unsafe practices.

Ugyen Deepak will monitor the mass hair cutting session every month. “This is my small contribution to the country that has given me so much and I will keep monitoring the haircut sessions every month,” said Ugyen Deepak.

During the inauguration of the training, about 300 monks and nuns got their heads shaved.

Meanwhile, the barber is planning to repeat the initiative at Chyoki Gyatso Institute at Dewathang in Samdrupjongkhar as well.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang