Friday, September 21, 2012

Honey, have you seen my T-shirt?

It was two weeks ago when I saw it while I walked down Kiwafu Road. A young Ugandan guy, early twenties. Black T-shirt. Puffy painted: Squad up!, whatever that means, in undoubtedly some U.S. junior high or high school girl's bubbly handwriting. Lots of little pearlescent squiggles and other perky designs to encourage that school spirit at cheer camp or wherever. In the U.S., it would take a very secure man to wear that shirt.

One of the curious aspects living in Uganda are--seriously--the T-shirts. So many of the Salvation Army/Goodwill clothes from the U.S. end up here, and a whole lot of them are T-shirts: from the high school play, the corporate family day, the J.V. football team, the chili cook-off. Names listed on the back, sometimes; locations that the people who wear them may never have heard of. If you've ever wondered what happened to your family reunion shirt that you just couldn't bring yourself to wear twice, my neighbor may be wearing it. Sometimes when a repairman or a man in the market is wearing a junior high girls volleyball T-shirt or the one from the Hello, Dolly! high school musical, I tilt my head to the side a little in my mind. Somehow, it seems familiar. And yet very, very foreign.

John covertly took a photo on his (now broken) phone at church of a Ugandan guy wearing a flamboyant "Don't Mess with Texas!" shirt. I saw a girl wearing an Arkansas Razorbacks T-shirt at a coffee shop, and I almost went up and hugged her, just because.


Ruthie H. said...

This post made me smile! I love the variety of t-shirts I see here and I, too, often wonder if the wearer knows what his shirt really says or means or where it comes from. :)

Jen said...

Have you run into t-shirts with the "wrong" football team shown as the Super Bowl winner, or "wrong" baseball team shown as the World Series champions? (NBA, etc) =) I haven't yet seen those in another country, but since I always hear that the losing team's shirts are sent to charity overseas, it would make my day to see one sometime. =)