I have a post about the lake that I want to upload, but it will take awhile as I have lots of pictures! Slow internet is so frustrating! In the meantime, I had an interesting experience yesterday. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been carrying this great handbag that my mom gave me for Christmas. It’s small and easy to protect from pick-pockets. With this new work I’m doing, however, I needed a big tote so I can take my laptop around with me. So off I went to the market to do some shopping.
Most of the vendors were selling cheap Chinese bags with shiny leather and lots of decorative fringe and hardware. Aside from being expensive (around $30) they aren’t really my style. So I moved on to a different part of the market. Here they were selling items from the US – t-shirts, sweaters, tennis shoes, belts, dresses, a huge mountain of men’s pants, etc. Things that we donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army or somewhere like that. There was a small pile of bags of every description that I sorted through until I found a black tote bag that looked pretty good. It was pretty beat up but a nice size and shape and the price was right (about $4). It turns out, upon closer inspection, that it is a bag from Target – one that I had admired when I was at home and almost bought on about eight different occasions. I love Target! So, here I am, in Africa, buying a second hand tote bag… from Target!
It’s always fun to see Malawians wearing hats or shirts supporting sports teams or colleges that have been donated from the US. I’ve seen a Carolina Panthers shirt, a Michael Vick Falcons jersey, a Georgia Tech hat, and many others… I keep waiting to see a Davidson shirt – I would probably tackle the person wearing it and ask them to take a picture with me. Sandy always wants to do the hokie chant to people wearing Virginia Tech stuff, but I think that would be confusing for them… and not a little frightening.
All of this reminds me of a story I read awhile ago about a woman who ran into a young child in Rwanda wearing a sweater she had donated eleven years earlier. It inspired her to start her own non-profit… the story is here: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Chance-Encounters-The-Blue-Sweaters-African-Odyssey. It makes you think about how very connected we all are!