A Seattle Seahawks fan, in Mtwara, Tanzania?

[vc_row type=”vc_default” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”5″][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last week one of our carvers arrived at the ADEA office donning a baseball cap with the logo of my hometown football team, the Seattle Seahawks.   It was great to see a fellow fan. But, as expected, Jemsi knew nothing of the Seahawks or even Seattle – and I bet he is also clueless about US football as this is soccer territory (known as football here).

This disconnect with logos and team names is how things are here with the mountains of second hand clothes that find their way from the USA and Europe to Africa.   Long before baseball caps made their recent debut in Tanzania, cast off t-shirts were ubiquitous. I recall a boy selling locally harvested salt sporting a Boston College t-shirt back in 1999. I was once pushed through the mangroves in a dugout canoe by a man in a tattered and faded purple University of Washington Husky t-shirt (another hometown fan perhaps). The Los Angeles, Lakers must have lost their popularity as one sees a lot of Lakers shirts.   Then there are the one offs sporting events like the Bloomsday Running Race of 2003 from Spokane or “The Pajama Game” musical from Grant High School 2010.   One of the funniest disconnects I saw was an old woman feebly walking down the street with “So, I’m a bitch, what of it?” across her small frame. I once had the idea of producing a coffee-table photo book called “Where Have All the T-shirts Gone?”   Perhaps one day I will, but the clothing markets have changed as television and smart phones have brought global fashion concerns deep into Africa. Now ill-fitting T-shirts no long have the place or appeal they once had.


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