In my previous life, I worked at a job that made growing a beard difficult. Every time I’d let it grow on vacation, I’d get close to an acceptable length, but still below the threshold of respectability. Naturally, when I learned I’d be working with Negros Women for Tomorrow and Kiva here in the Philippines, I looked at it as a great opportunity to reinvent myself as a man with a beard. On the street every day, people walk around with beards knowing that they are part of an exclusive fraternity, having chosen to distinguish themselves from the rest of the clean-shaven world. On this trip, I would not pass up the opportunity.
The process began on November 18th, two days before I left work. I had two weeks before work began in the Philippines, a narrow window for a full bloom. The above photo was taken on December 20th, showing a month of unchecked growth. In the first two weeks, I already had a nice base, extending from my sideburns, down my cheek, and underneath my chin. Halfway down my face, the pattern forms a right angle, before dropping precipitously past my mustache and down to the area below my chin. Continue reading