On my family’s most recent trip to Uganda, we had the idea of gathering menswear and bringing it with us for men and young adults. My dad, Tom, who was going for the first time came up with the idea of bringing men’s clothes, especially clothes that could be worn for job interviews and work. Men’s fashion translates well between the U.S. and Uganda and my dad thought it would be easy to collect, since he had several dress clothes he didn’t wear often. And he was right! Thanks to Patrick Koehl, Grant Pollworth, Tim Richards, and the Prassas family and friends, our suitcase of menswear weighed more than 70 pounds. It was chock full of buttoned-down shirts, suits, slacks, ties and nice shoes. Because of the generosity of these people, we were able to make many men and young adults happy.
When we arrived in Lwamata, we gave the priests we were visiting at St. Venansio Parish first pick out of our huge suitcase. They were so happy. Next, we gave many of the clothes to the young men in the scholarship program. The younger boys picked out the khakis and loved the baseball hats. They even picked out clothes that were too big and exclaimed they would make them fit.
It was so fun to see how much excitement these clothes brought the men and boys, because they are things that people in the United States take for granted. We had never brought menswear to Uganda before this trip, but after the reaction we received, I think they will be a staple packed in our suitcases for next time.