Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My 20 year old cotton sarongs: a lesson in sustainability.

When I first lived in Sri Lanka, twenty years ago, I decided to buy several white cotton sarongs, which are popular attire for Sri Lankan men. I made my purchase of three at a small tailor ship located in a small shack-like structure, equipped with treadle sewing machines, on a busy street near where I lived.

A sarong is a tubular garment, about 4 ft. long, which one wraps around the waist. Purists, or those who cannot afford a belt, hold it up with distinctive tie. I have always found it simpler to wear a belt. Middle and upper class men do not wear sarongs in public, unless they are politicians, but most Sri Lankan men wear them around the house, even when close friends are present. Though I have bought a few others, in the intervening years, I still have two of the original three that I first purchased. I expect they will remain functional until I die. Among the garments I owned in 1988, my sarongs are probably the only ones remaining in my wardrobe. It is a lesson in sustainability.

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