This week’s Fun Monday is hosted by Hula Girl. She says: “I’ve come up with the following topic….clothing…specifically clothing you can’t get rid of. We all have at least one or two items of clothing that we can’t part with, even if we can’t or don’t wear them” I used her Fun Monday logo today 🙂
The first piece of clothing that I own that I am going to talk about is literally a piece of cloth. It is called in Swahili a leso or khanga. Every East African woman is supposed to own one. This is the one I currently own and I have owned it for a long time. (It has been folded into two)
They say there 101 uses for a khanga. Women use it to:
Carry a baby on their backs (like in the batik, or the way people use wraps these days), as an apron in the kitchen, they are worn over skirts as the women tend the fields so that their skirts will not get dirty, women wear them on their heads as a head wrap, they use it on the floor like a mat when you are sitting outside in the grass, women use it postpartum to help them get rid of their baby bump after they have had the baby (they tie it round their waist tight). They can also be used as a tablecloth (you would buy special ones for that) or as decorative wall hangings. Women are not using them that much anymore and another piece of cloth called Kikoy has taken over (they are more beautiful and the fabric is stronger than the khanga). Khangas always have a Swahili saying, proverb, slogan or riddle printed on them.
Mine says “Najua mtasema tena” which means, “I know that you will talk/say again”
Some cultures do use Khangas during weddings, on the wedding day, the groom’s best man, goes to pick up the bride from her parents house. But before her relatives let her out, they will ask demand for stuff. One of the things the best man should come prepared with is money ( stelmodad can tell you his story about that) and khangas. The Aunties ( Bride’s Dad’s sisters mostly) want Khangas for all the care they took of the bride while she was growing up. So, the best man gives them khangas, (each aunty should get at least one or the best man might find himself going to the store to buy more) These khangas are put on the floor for the bride to step on as she goes to the bride’s car, (you do not want the bride getting all dirty…you have to remember this is Kenya, it could be muddy or dusty) after she gets to the car, the loot is shared among the aunties. Talking of weddings, the second piece of clothing I am NEVER going to part with is my wedding dress. I am too sentimentally attached to it that I I packed my wedding dress and carried it all the way from Kenya to the US. I know we were supposed to pack all our life belongings into 6 suitcases, and the wedding dress took so much space, but I had to have it. I do not think my hubby was happy about that. I went through a lot to get this dress and I almost lost it at the dry cleaners, the tailoress who was adjusting it disappeared for a day with it and I love it to death. I do not think I can fit into it because I was super THIN those days, I am posting one of the wedding pictures, but if you want to see more, go here and you have to scroll down to wedding pictures.
Please visit Hula Girl and see what clothing people are holding onto, enjoy and have a fun monday.