Ortolan Powell and Duane Curling team up for holiday trimming treat
For many, the December holiday season is a time for giving. So, when Ortolan Powell saw the holiday season fast approaching, he jumped right into acts of generosity. This year, he teamed up with local barber Duane Curling, of Curling Cutz, to treat the tree salesmen on the outskirts of the plazas on Constant Spring Road to a fresh ‘Feliz Navidad’ trim.
“With so much that has happened over the pandemic season, it’s always good to see people still working, still pushing and still doing what they can, making the best with the very little that they have,” Powell told The Gleaner.
Curling, a barber for eight years and counting, first saw Powell giving back in his videos on social media. He was a follower for a long time, but decided to reach out in September. In his message, the barber shared how inspired he was by the numerous videos posted about random acts of kindness to complete strangers. And feeling compelled to collaborate on a project, Powell decided this would be the perfect idea to celebrate the holidays. “I never grew up celebrating Christmas, but it was always a time of year that just made me feel blessed,” he said.
The original plan was to find random people in the central location of Half-Way Tree and provide them with a fresh cut. Parked in Twin Gates Plaza, with a chair from home – they aimed to stay in the vicinity as much as possible. One glance across the street and the brilliant idea shun bright like a light bulb. “I always saw these men selling Christmas tree. It’s practically a Jamaican tradition; to have these natural pine trees in the home. So what better way to show appreciation for all of their hard work than by giving a refreshed look?” shared Powell.
Curling approached the men, asking who wanted a free haircut, and while initially hesitant, four men were lined up for a line-up or trim in the chair. “When we started cutting the first tree cutter’s hair, onlookers were surprised that we were cutting hair right on the sidewalk. People passed by, bigging up and giving hi-fives to the tree cutters,” Powell said.
One of the recipients, a 15-year-old Papine High School student who goes by the name of Lana, sells Christmas trees during the season to assist with funds for his schooling. Others include Java, a 26-year-old who has been cutting trees for 10 years, and Kingsley who has been working to cut and prep trees for the past 15 years. Then there’s Gavin. Gavin works at a car rental company and a Chinese restaurant, and his boss from the car rental gives him the time off annually to make some extra money by cutting and selling the festive household commodity. “He was super excited just to receive a shave from us,” Powelll shared.
The air might be thick with competitive spirit, but just like the pine cones, there’s always a fresh scent of camaraderie among the men. That especially shown through the session. It also doesn’t hurt that the four men got a fresh look for the holiday season.”I think looking sharp for the season just helps to set you up for the new year and makes you feel refreshed,” said Powell, adding that he and Curling were happy to give back.
Respecting Curling’s enthusiasm for giving back and how energised and passionate he was about helping those in need, Powell added that there is no better feeling than looking your best, especially for a special occasion. What other way to make somebody feel good if not by letting them look good with a fresh haircut, he asked.
As for future endeavours, Curling and Powell are eyeing to go into the inner city to collaborate on free back-to-school haircuts.