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Old 15-07-2013, 10:32   #1
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Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

Hi All,
We'll be leaving the Philippines next week for a leisurely 4 month meander along a course that will take in some very remote island communities in the vicinity of Palau, Micronesia, the Marshalls, Solomons and Vanuatu. I've left it way too late to think about this and would welcome any suggestions for useful gift items to take to the remotest villages. I have to catch a plane to get back to the boat first so it can only be what I can fit in one big bag. I want to avoid plastics of any kind.
Thanks, Sonja.
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Old 15-07-2013, 10:35   #2
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Funny, I'm at a business conference in San Antonio Texas with a colleague from Kosrae right now, I'll ask him.
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Old 15-07-2013, 10:43   #3
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Re: Any suggestions for gifts to remote island communities.

Cool...thanks
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:12   #4
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Re: Any suggestions for gifts to remote island communities.

Solar/crank turn & battery powered AM/FM/Weather radios...baseball caps...mirrors (4x2 in)...solar/battery/motion powered flashlights; my suggestions for remote villagers. Have fun!

Mauritz
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:37   #5
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Reading glasses, kids books, clothes, fishing hooks and line, soaps. That's some stuff I gave in Indonesia that seem really appreciated.
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Old 15-07-2013, 15:47   #6
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Re: Any suggestions for gifts to remote island communities.

What hasn't been mentioned yet are "school supplies": ballpoint pens, pencils, "Blue Books" (writing tablets); reading glasses for elders (which was mentioned, but are really appreciated); sample size spray cologne for Micronesians; first aid supplies are extremely appreciated at remote nursing stations (do not give to chiefs, give only to the nurses); personally, I'd avoid giving anything that needs batteries, because their disposal methods are primitive for stuff like that. Clothing in good condition has always been appreciated as well, but enough won't fit in one bag.

The men like small fish hooks and line already mentioned, suitable for catching fish inside the reefs.

If you happen to enjoy doing beadwork, the ladies will just love your making them a simple bracelet. You get the pleasure of making it, and they, of wearing something exotic. This approach can be cool because it feeds your hobby and the need for gifts.

Have a super time! You're gonna be meeting some lovely folks!

Ann
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Old 15-07-2013, 16:01   #7
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Re: Any suggestions for gifts to remote island communities.

T-shirts, snorkeling equip, fishing lines and hooks, color pencils and notebooks, jandals, cloth, pans, etc.

We always 'traded' (most of the time for fruit and vegs).

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Old 16-07-2013, 10:17   #8
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Re: Any suggestions for gifts to remote island communities.

Definitely reading glasses and school supplies.
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Old 16-07-2013, 10:41   #9
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

I dont think you should take anything.

If you take goods and give them away you are cutting off the buisness that normally supplies them. Then these islands wont have anywhere to shop!

Much better is to take MONEY and buy the things you want to give from the local island shop and give them away. (This is proving to children that begging is good, but hey)

At least that way you:
Support the local entrepenurs
Give kids the same/similar as the other kids so they wont get picked on/bullied
You put money into the islands economy
You will be more cost effective because many of the products there will be cheaper as they will be from Asia etc (or maybe locally produced)



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Old 16-07-2013, 11:22   #10
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

Good point, Mark.
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Old 16-07-2013, 11:30   #11
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

Most of these islanders are self sufficient as a requirement to survive. What was most appreciated in my experience were small hand tool sets like screwdrivers, pliers, etc as well as school supplies. School supplies are always being used up and hand tools are a staples for repairing equipment usually thrown away by more affluent societies.
Dispite my respect for Markj's observations, many of these folks don't have any money to spend... just the skills to survive off the sea. Apologies, Mark... cheers, Phil
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Old 16-07-2013, 11:57   #12
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

When I was a teenager, my family used to visit nomadic Bedouins (Northern Egypt's Sahara Desert) and provide them with free dental care; father and brother were visiting italian oral surgeons. We used to donate to them tea, sugar, coffee, cocoa, clothes, shoes, oil, flour, plastic wares and light travel bags. In return for the dental services, we would be offered palm dates, hand made rugs, eggs, chickens, goat cheese, goats and occasionally gold and platinum coins; anything given to us would be declined, as they were with very modest means. It was customary to drink green tea and eat home-made bread with them. These visits would last a few days during the summer months and sometimes in the winter.

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Old 16-07-2013, 16:09   #13
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I dont think you should take anything.

If you take goods and give them away you are cutting off the buisness that normally supplies them. Then these islands wont have anywhere to shop!

Much better is to take MONEY and buy the things you want to give from the local island shop and give them away. (This is proving to children that begging is good, but hey)

At least that way you:
Support the local entrepenurs
Give kids the same/similar as the other kids so they wont get picked on/bullied
You put money into the islands economy
You will be more cost effective because many of the products there will be cheaper as they will be from Asia etc (or maybe locally produced)



mark
Never thought of that and makes great sense...Thanx
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Old 16-07-2013, 16:50   #14
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

In general, I quite agree with Mark J about this, and have actually found a used clothing store in Luganville (Vanuatu), where one could stock up before going to the Banks Group.

But is the OP is in SE Asia and flying back to Philippines before heading off. Her approach will be from West to East, so she'll reach Gizo in the Sollies long before she'll reach the metropolis shopping in Honiara, so she wants to bring stuff for trade and for gifts. I think that's just fine, too. Once in Gizo, it is wise to stock up on Solomon Is. Dollars, cause it's the last bank before Honiara...IIRC

Furthermore, "ice breaker" gifts for children are usually appreciated by parents, and confer little obligation. In our experience locals all have a generosity ethic, especially considering their limited means.

Small hand soaps are also appreciated. Depending on location, they can sometimes buy coarse local soap, but the hand soaps the yachties bring are popular.

Ann
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Old 17-07-2013, 05:53   #15
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Re: Any Suggestions for Gifts to Remote Island Communities

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. Much appreciated.
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