Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization”. By Chelsea Campbell. Barcelona, Spain

 

While watching The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy something that stuck with me through out was what a little girl from Zambia said. She explained, “we suffer because the things we need we don’t have in Zambia, unless another country brings it here. It must be brought for us. Now in Zambia, there is nowhere we can get things and people are just waiting until things come from the outside. That is when we find a better life.” I have known growing up and learned in school that many countries in Africa struggled, however, the video really put it in perspective on a global basis in comparison to globalization. In previous readings Slimbach has discussed buying local, handmade goods in order to have a positive influence on the local economy we are residing or visiting. The thing with some countries in Africa though, such as Zambia, is they no longer have local clothing manufacturers. The largest export from the US to Africa is used clothing. I was incredibly surprised by this. I guess in a sense growing up I had contributed to the flows of globalization in a way by donating my clothes to Goodwill and other miscellaneous donation centers, without even knowing it was going to have a global effect. However, after watching the video I realized truly how much of an impact my decisions make on globalization. Because the handmade African goods were not being bought, they were completely swapped out for secondhand American clothes. I am sure that Zambia is not the only place in the world that this American influence is having on local cultures in a global society. In Barcelona, when I buy certain things I am encountering globalization. The street markets are a great example. Of course it is lovely to go to the market on a weekend morning when I am there for them, however, it is also nice to go in order to support the local business. The jewelry is handmade, the soaps, the knickknacks, etc. They are even of extraordinary quality because the vendors want to prove they are just as great as the large chains that are beginning to enter the increasingly touristy city of Barcelona. Now, more than ever, is a time in Barcelona’s rapid growth history for small business shop owners to save themselves. As I once noted before from my interview I had with the local, Mireia, Americans have a lot of influence on the cultural in Barcelona. The teenagers want to dress like the Americans, listen to the same music, act the same way they see in movies, etc. This made more sense to me than when the man in the documentary said, “the music that is enjoyed here and the clothes that are enjoyed here, it’s the U.S. again”. I was very surprised. I would have never guessed that a country such as Zambia would be inspired by the American culture. It all comes back in a full circle of realization that in our “global community” there are these certain clashing cultural issues that global citizens need to be aware of when participating in the overall global community. That is one slight tweak that may not need to be added to the definition but one that needs to be kept in mind; almost like a bullet point to the definition. We, as global citizens, need to be fully cognizant of the rights of others to obtain a job, have food on their table and clothes on their bodies. By falling into these “ignorant” ways of pushing one culture onto another that does not work in the same way we can be destroying the other. This can lead to the neglect of their human rights or even the destruction of their unique culture that may not be fit to imitate the American culture of superstores, fancy electronics, etc. As the man in the documentary also made a point to say, “don’t come into Zambia and tell us ‘In America we do it this way’ because you are not in America anymore”.juicehammock

The photo that I chose that conveys my developing awareness of the interactions of globalization and travel is of the hammock juice store I came across in Amsterdam. Yes, there are other hammock juice stores around the world but this local one I found fascinating. Juice was sold everywhere in Amsterdam, especially orange juice, due to their recreational activities so it is hard for simple juice shops without prime locations to compete. This one added another spin to their juice shop in order to survive the tourism by selling handmade hammocks. I thought this was brilliant. I now always look out for these aspects to shops that separate the from the average tourist restaurant or store.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization”. By Chelsea Campbell. Barcelona, Spain

  1. I like how you mentioned how when you were growing up you had contributed to the flows of globalization by donating your clothes to Goodwill and other donation centers, without even knowing it was going to have a global effect. I was incredibly moved and surprised by the Travels of a T-shirt when they mentioned how important the clothing trade is for them and their ability to make money and feed their families. I have so much extra clothes that I can easily give away and now know that I will not only be making a difference towards the impoverished in the US but also in other countries in need which is a great feeling.

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    • Exactly! Sometimes I like to look at donating clothes as a cheat to community service for when you have not had enough time to get out there and make your way to a food pantry or soup kitchen. However, you’re right, after watching the documentary I was so moved on how much the donations actually do, so I no longer want to call it a “cheat” but just another form of service to do that will better the global community. I did not realize the impact had until the documentary, I am now so glad I donated my clothes throughout the years.

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