BY PAUL NJIE
Ekie Walters Ngalle, 24, never dreamt of becoming a barber someday. The idea did not even come as an option, from his list of priorities. Today, many less privileged enjoy free haircuts from his mobile barbing campaigns.
The journey of a humanitarian mobile barber
After studying IT at a local industrial training center, Ekie sold watermelon on the streets in order to survive. But something happened four years ago while on his routine roadside venture. One of his clients introduced him to barbing. This marked the beginning of someone through whose art many less privileged would enjoy free haircuts. His art has since become an inspiration to many.
Since Ekie embraced barbing as an occupation, he developed love for it, he told EboniGram. His barbing experience, however, was not all that rosy. After three years of barbing in a shop in Buea, in the South West region of Cameroon, he quit. This was understandably hard for him; he had to do it anyway.
“I had to leave the [barber] shop because the working conditions were not favourable to me,” Walters said.
If anyone thought this was going to break Walters, they were wrong. For the young man, it was a leeway to explore other avenues. Becoming his own boss was not a bad idea at all, he thought. He had already developed love for barbing, so much so that he had to stay within that zone of occupation.
But how could a then 23 year-old, singlehandedly pay rents for his own barber’s shop? Where would he get money to buy the requisite equipment? Without a doubt, these are genuine questions for anyone hoping to start up a business — big or small.
One day, he thought out of the box and resolved to be his own boss, anyway. He did not need a shop to be a barber, after all. He just needed the skills and his equipment.
Mobile barbing? That seemed like a great idea to Ekie. He could go and meet people in the confines of their homes — or anywhere they were — and shave them upon request.
That was it! Just like that, Ekie Walters became a mobile barber in 2020.
How Ekie’s Mobile Barbing is Impacting Lives
Ekie has succeeded to build his brand. “Walcutz De Baber” seemed like a great fit for what he did and continues to do. A combination of his name and newly found passion.
Cameroon has so many less privileged persons. The economy and internal occurrences such as conflicts, have rendered numerous individuals disadvantaged.
“They are the needy and they need our help,” Ekie said.
How can a barber add meaning to their lives? He wondered. How could the less privileged enjoy free haircuts from his largess? He had a skill, and he resolved to use it to make this group of persons smile. “Barbing for charity” or “humanitarian barbing” was Ekie’s way of telling the less privileged that someone somewhere cared for them.
For four months now, the barber has been to six towns and cities, giving free haircuts to the less privileged, orphans, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and handicapped persons.
The needy persons are usually very unkempt when you see them. That is why I took it upon myself to reach out to them with my skills. So, I do the haircuts for them for freeEkie Walters
To him, this is the only way he can give back to the community.
On a normal day, Ekie’s services could cost over 5 dollars. But, doing it for free for the less privileged, makes him “feel very fine and happy inside.”
“There’s a lot of joy doing a humanitarian gesture like this,” he said.
Actively meeting the less privileged
Ekie regularly goes to the streets and orphanages, to do his humanitarian barbing.
In one of the orphanages where he gives free haircuts to the kids — God First Orphanage and Home for the Needy, Wotutu — he is considered more as family.
Since his first visit there, he became fond of the kids. The children love him too. Some of them call him “uncle barber.”
After his haircut, here is what Thomas, a kid at the orphanage, said:
“I feel nice. The hairstyle is quite nice as well…Thank you very much [Uncle Walters].”
This orphanage in Wotutu does not have electricity. Walters has rechargeable shaving machines, and he uses them with or without electricity. This meant a lot to the people at the orphanage.
If he did not have such machines, it would have been stressful for me to pay barbers up at Wotutu or Mile 4, given the distance. It’s risky for the children, and it would have been expensive for me too.Elive Joan, the Founder of God First Orphanage and Home for the Needy
“He [Walters] does it [shaves] very well. He is doing it with all his heart, and does it carefully, without any payment. So, I really appreciate… I’m very happy because it helps me to cut down cost,” Mrs. Elive continued to reveal.
“I’m so happy for the sacrifice that a young man like him puts in.”
These words are a booster to the young barber who singlehandedly finances his humanitarian efforts. It is not easy for him to do this, but words of appreciation from people like Mrs. Elive Joan, only motivate him to keep going.
“It all depends on my finance. As long as I have money, I will keep doing this,” Ekie said with strong resolve.
The 24 year-old humanitarian hopes to take this far. In a few days, he will begin a national tour, dubbed “Walcutz De Barber Charity National Tour.” The aim of this tour is to change lives through haircuts.
“My [general] goal is to train a minimum of 150 less privileged youths and give free haircuts to 1500 less privileged people across the country.”
By training less privileged children how to become barbers, he believes he is giving them hope. He is creating an opportunity for them to gain skills, which might lead to their future employment.
Ekie has huge dreams. Even though finance is a major problem for him, he still fancies creating a barbing academy, sometime in the future, to train many less privileged persons, free of charge, on how to do haircuts. His charity campaign has garnered massive national and international acclaim.
“Most people are proud of what he does”, said one of Ekie’s regular customers.
So many young people in Cameroon are as talented as Walters. Nothing would make him happier, than seeing such persons join him in touching the lives of people who are disadvantaged across communities.
“They should ask themselves: ‘what have they done to the community?’ If some youth can have the kind of initiative and love for the community like I do, it’s going to help the community a lot.”Ekie Walters
After every free haircut, the kids would often tell Walters, “thank you!” There is some inspiration that comes with that, Ekie told EboniGram.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It means more than the money I charge for haircuts.”
To Walters this might just be a small way of expressing kindness, but to the people he impacts, it is an utterly remarkable gesture — a gesture that puts a smile on the face of three-year-old Jude, at the orphanage.
You can get involved
If you would love to donate to Walters’ Charity or reach out to him, here is how you can get to him:
Tel: +237 673 594 931
Facebook: Walcutz De Barber
Instagram: Walcutz De Barber