Uganda meets Tommy Hilfiger

This coming Saturday, October 9th, is Uganda’s Independence Day. In honor of that I thought I would share a few stories this week from my time in Uganda.

Every few months a cargo container full of donations would arrive in Gaba. These containers contained everything from clothes to toys to school books given by people from around the world. One day a container arrived and we opened it and noticed it was full of boxes. In these boxes were clothes, which was not uncommon, but these particular clothes happened to be Tommy Hilfiger. All of them. Every T-Shirt, every pair of jeans, every sweater, all of them bore the “TH” logo.

Soon the lines began to form, as they did when a container arrived, and volunteers faithfully passed out pants and shirts to people in need and overnight Gaba transformed from a village of individuals to one giant Tommy Hilfiger advertising group. Everyone was wearing “TH” brand (exept me) and it didn’t matter that half the people were wearing the same shirt while the other half wore matching jeans, everyone was now hip and fashionable! The normal dusty brown of Gaba was transformed into red, white, and blue. People were complementing each other on the street about their fashion and how “sharp” they looked. That container truly transformed Gaba. For a while…

Soon enough the white in the shirts turned brown with dust, the jeans developed holes in the knees, and eventually the Tommy Hilfiger clothes began to show up in shops around Gaba for sale, no longer needed or wanted by the owner. A few people held on to their fashionable items but after a few months things were back to normal, which is how we liked things in Gaba.

Then the next container arrived….

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