Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wear It If You've Got It

More so than any other place I've traveled, in Eastern Africa it is obvious that locals wear clothes previously worn by someone else in some other place.  I'm not throwing stones: I originally wrote this post while wearing a Beijing 2008 t-shirt that I bought second-hand in Namibia in 2002, and half of the clothes I climbed Kilimanjaro in were purchased at Goodwill.

The selection is mind-boggling, and their routes to this new home are equally as thought provoking.

Clothes arrive in 45km bales, labelled per type.  I witnessed a scene in Longido where a group of women opened a bale of towels, of all sizes, colors, and uses, and each was ooo'd and ahhhh'd over, shaken out for full effect.  

45 kg of "children rummage"
One bale is more than enough to open a clothing "shop" - or throw down a tarp and let people dig through a pile.  There are traditional clothing stores - with walls, doors, and new clothes that are hung up - but only in bigger cities.  Nairobi is the only place that had malls, as defined by western standards.

Although sometimes sold in piles (where you have to dig to find the other shoe of the matched pair), shoes lend themselves to more artistic display.

Here is a short list of the shirts that I saw:
  • really nice embroidered Harvard shirt (and a few not embroidered)
  • Brett Favre Vikings jersey
  • Brett Favre Packers jersey [Didn't complete set: never saw a Brett Favre Jets jersey :( ]
  • Tim Hortons camp day
  • McCain/Palin campaign shirt
  • Manchester United jerseys galore
  • Rivers Edge Game Reserve in Valders, WI
  • JFK Student Government  (I also saw a sign for the "Jeff K. Hotel")
  • Denison College
  • princess costume
  • Vans "off the wall" iconic logo t-shirt
  • Motion-W Wisconsin zip up fleece
  • Sprouts grocery store, which is a tiny co-op grocery store chain in Austin, TX
  • University of Texas hats and t-shirts
  • every conceivable professional and collegiate sport team
  • every English Premier League team jersey, current and recent (you can tell because of the sponsors)
  • McDonald's
  • Hard Rock Cafe Beijing
  • Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (TV show)
  • Mickey Mouse with a freaky skeleton teeth mouth
  • Milwaukee, WI kids sport league jersey
  • GAP
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Oregon Ducks
  • endless Air Jordan, Jordan, and 23
  • Burnt Orange "Keep Austin Weird"...I don't even have that shirt
  • University of Wisconsin - Green Bay wind pants where the font was traditional looking cross-stitches 
  • University of Wisconsin t-shirt
  • Wisconsin red zip-up fleece with "Wisconsin" instead of just the "W"
  • NYPD jacket (yes, as in New York Policy Department)
  • Lands End cloth briefcase
  • one of my porters on Kilimanjaro has a sweatshirt that said "I ♥️ SHOES, BAGS & BOYS"
And the highlight for obvious reasons:

It's owner was selling live chickens next to the road, somewhere east of Singida and west of Arusha.  Which is a long way from the corner of Indiana and Kirkwood Aves.

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