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"Demand For Secondhand Hair I Scavenge From Dumpsite Has Risen," Julia

Sofia KE

Aug. 04, 2020

Julia Wanja, a hairstylist, is among Kenyans affected economically by Covid-19 pandemic. With the number of clients reducing because of the pandemic, she is forced to cut costs on where she sources her hair extensions.
"I have fewer customers. If you are not going to work, there is no need to style your hair,” the mother of three says.
Julia sources hair extensions from the dumpsite in Dandora. Trash is dumped depending on where it comes from whether. Commercial waste mainly includes bags of hair extensions thrown away by other salons. Medical waste is usually reduced to ashes. Just like other scavengers, she also observes the recommended Covid regulations by wearing a mask.
"We cannot allow anyone to enter the dumpsite without a mask on," fellow scavenger Denis Githaiga said.
She delicately looks through the piles of trash looking for the extensions. She then washes them and resells them to customers. She says, she washes the hair extensions carefully using detergent, Dettol and hot water. Wanja says most her customers trust her to wash the extensions well while others prefer to do the cleaning themselves.
Wanja has been reselling these extensions since 2008.She says the demand for them has risen now as people don’t have money to afford new extensions.
"New hair is more expensive than second-hand hair. People don't have money,” she said.
The 38 year old says the only difference between her second hand extensions and new ones is just the price. She says her extensions look new and luxuriant.
"The hair bought new from a shop and bought used only differs in price. But once it is plaited, there is no difference," said Cecilia Githigia one of Wanja’s customers.
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