What is the mitumba?
In the West, we often rid ourselves of clothing and fabric that we no longer want by donating it to agencies and organizations to help with social causes. What these agencies can’t sell in their own country is frequently purchased by middle-men. It is sorted by type and quality and bundled into large bails. Through a series of brokers these bails make their way to ports throughout the developing world where again they are sold to local merchants who transport them, often on the roof of a bus, to their home towns. And there they are displayed, and hopefully sold, in large open air markets, which in Kenya are called mitumbas. They provide literally millions of people in Africa and throughout much of the developing world with access to good quality shoes and clothing at affordable prices.