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Have you ever wondered...

At one time or another, all of us have dropped off unwanted clothing at Goodwill, Salvation Army or a church clothing drive.  Have you ever wondered what happens to all those clothes that aren't resold in the U.S. or further donated to our landfill?

Personally I never really pondered on this question too much.  However, I do recall a few occasions when one of my favorite, but perhaps off-colored or raggedy-but-comfortable shirts disappeared, curiously coinciding with a Goodwill drop-and-run. 

I still morn the absence of that one shirt that kind of resembled doctor scrubs, it had a bleach stain that looked like a horse.  Now THAT was a comfortable shirt.

Well... I'm here to tell you that some of your previous "can't-live-without" garments, find their way to places like Madagascar.  It turns out that importing huge bundles of unwanted clothes from the U.S. is a very organized business over here.  A "bale" might contain 50 to 100 pieces of clothing and might cost $75 to $125 depending on the seasonal clothing type.

Entrepreneur types purchase the bundles, sort the clothes and resell them by the piece for a profit.  The Malagasy that buy these individual cast-offs are only interested in clothing for the sake of being clothed.  They don't care at all about fashion, color-coordination or exact fits.  Many of the shirts are laden with American advertising, promotional logos or some long forgotten catch-phrase-fad that failed to resonate with the previous owner.

The net result can be very humorous and sometimes very inappropriate, but the wearer has no idea what it says.  Bon Jovi, Miley Cyrus and the New Jersey Oncology Clinic should be proud to know that their memory is still alive and well in the back alleys of Madagascar.  Americans might be interested to know that there is a little Malagasy boy who's T-Shirt proclaims that HE is the "Future President of the United States". 

I'm just betting that he too claims to be born in Hawaii.

Yesterday at the beach I spied what looked to be a coconut-collector dressed as a doctor from the waist up.  As I drew closer, I couldn't help but think about how comfortable he looked.  When I saw the rough outline of a faded white horse I realized that the seemingly impossible had happened.  It could only have been God's will that I be reunited with my favorite shirt.  How else can you explain it?  When he regains consciousness I hope he will forgive me. 

Meanwhile, I wonder how you say "Dry Cleaner" in Malagasy, I really need to find one.