Nivriti Butalia and Leslie Pableo recently went to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan and here is what they had to report:
"Zaatari Camp, Jordan Hairspray is a surprise. You wouldn’t think anyone at a refugee camp would possess cans of heady, heavily-scented inflammable polymers. And yet, there is a beauty parlor in Zaatari the camp for Syrian refugees an hour’s drive from Amman in Jordan."
"The parlor isn’t advertised. There is no billboard with a young woman’s cosmetically-enhanced visage and blow-dried hair beckoning the ladies to pamper themselves. And yet, in a little tin shed that can’t be more than 200 sq ft, there are 15 women cramped into the space of four office cubicles, a space that is illuminated by four dangling wires of white fluorescent bulbs."
"On the scaffolding of the tin structure are 23 black plastic hangers. On a few of these hang dresses made of satin and embellished with imitation-crystals and artificial flowers. A little girl with lipstick, whose head barely reaches the table is acting as make-up assistant, brandishing an open jar of hair gel. An eye shadow palette lies open, each color-square with craters in the center, an indicator of how much shimmer has been applied, how much use the box has seen."
"With Zaatari housing over 100,000 people in 28,000 shelters, 12,000 caravans and 16,000 tents all in an area of 531 hectares it should come as no surprise that (in what is the second largest refugee camp in the world), there should be a place, a women’s hub that has some distant semblance to quotidian necessities, hairspray and eye shadow that perhaps elsewhere in the world are not given a second thought, treated as they are as givens."
Adapted from Khaleej Times.