Pedicures to Feed an Army

I ran across this piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, “On a Base in Iraq, The Pedi-Cure.” At Forward Operating Base Marez in still-volatile Mosul, some soldiers have found a place to rest their weary…feet. In addition to pedicures, manicures and back massages are also popular with the men. (Full-body massages are forbidden, to eliminate the possibility of sexual conduct between soldiers and salon employees.)
According to the story, “There’s almost always a waiting list for pedicures and manicures. Soldiers leave their rifles on a blue rack behind the counter and watch music videos or read old magazines as they wait for their names to be called.”
Pedicures at the salon cost only $7, with a mani-pedi combo going for $11. That’s not a lot of money for all the work they have to do on the soldiers’ rough hands and feet. But the women who work in the salon have mostly come from Central and Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America to keep American military bases humming and service members well fed and comfortable. Many of them came because they could make more money doing nails in Iraq than they could have back home. According to the story, one worker shared that she made $400 in a good month back home in Kyrgyzstan. In Mosul, where foreign workers have few living expenses, she can make as much as $1,200 per month. “We can save money and come back and buy an apartment,” she said.
I don’t know about you guys, but I for one, love thinking about all those big, tough soldiers getting pedicures to help them relax.
— Hannah

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