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Old 02-02-2009, 22:30   #1
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Gifts for locals

Hello:
What things have you taken with you as you cruised to give to local people? What things other than money did you wish that you had more of so that you could give it away? I have heard of people taking T shirts and cigaretts but are these the best things to give away?
Thank you.
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Old 02-02-2009, 22:36   #2
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simple magnifying reading glasses. I wouldn't feel right taking drugs of addiction.
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Old 02-02-2009, 23:00   #3
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I have been told that pencils, coloured pencils, crayons and writing and drawing paper are very popular especially for the kids.

Cheers
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Old 02-02-2009, 23:17   #4
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This one is perplexing us as we are about to head to Indonesia and Malaysia this year.

Previously we have just given little soft toy Koalas to nice people who have helped us.

I have read where people (not the locals) say locals want school uniforms and exercise books and kids will squeal with delight at a normal pen.

Its suggested people buy second hand school uniforms at charity shops here and take them aboard.

Our charity shops here are quite expensive unless you are unemployed etc, so outfitting 1 child I would expect to cost about $10. So 1 uniform per 'village'? So 1 kid is wearing something completely different than anyone else?

No exercise books in Indonesia? They probably make the things there and export them to Australia & America. Plus I can't really believe there would be too many places so poor they can't afford a pen. Especially in areas that cruisers visit.

I've tried to picture myself being "King of the Kids" handing out scholastic torture instruments and just don't see it. I think I would be told by the Nike wearing juveniles to shove off!

I would like to hear of people who have actually done it and how.

I think the best way we can help is to use and pay for services that are owned by locals or employing locals in the countries we go to. Therefore the recipients can spend their pay of things they want for their children, not what the Great White Cruiser thinks they want


Mark


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Old 03-02-2009, 18:56   #5
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Ok, when we cruised up to New Caledonia we met some of the native locals on one of the small islands. They fed us, watered us and made us extremely welcome on their island. The night before we left I gave the women the last of my Fendi Perfume of which they had been shyly admiring, along with a bottle of woolmix washing liquid that was much coveted. I also swapped t-shirts with one of the blokes, much to everyone's amusement.

The next morning as we went ashore for our last good-byes, they unexpectedly presented us with a carved wooden pen holder, a local t-shirt for Clyde and a local dress for me (about 20 sizes too large). Also a beautifully etched piece of jade. We were not allowed to refuse their generosity.

I guess it all rather depends on exactly where in the world you intend to be cruising and what people you will encounter. Be they the busy locals in the towns or the inhabitants of the tiny remote and often undeveloped villages.

Cheers.
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Old 03-02-2009, 20:42   #6
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Quote:
I think the best way we can help is to use and pay for services that are owned by locals or employing locals in the countries we go to.
Short of that being nice it does not cost anything and is always appreciated. Sometimes you can see more than what your eyes tell you and you know what the right thing to give really is. It requires you are looking and it's not the same everyplace you go. You sure are not going to change the world but a moment for one person still counts.
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Old 03-02-2009, 20:59   #7
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These "things" are on my list also but I fear I would have to carry too much, you see, when I made my Christmas gift list the first year it got out of hand. It started with the OR and L&D staff, then I had to include Pre-op staff, then to PACU, then to anesthesia providers, and then the docs office staff. I ended up making over 200 gifts. It set a precedent and now each year is really tough.

I cannot easily draw a line. When I was of the age of using crayons I didn't use the lines well either.

So what is a cruiser to do?
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Old 03-02-2009, 21:08   #8
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We found that educational supplies like exercise books & pens were very gratefully received as well as pain killers, tee shirts, caps etc. If you are prepared to go the extra mile you can approach phamacies to get expired medications and distribute these to the village medical centres. The same applies for glasses from optometrists. We still had a stack of spare clothing & educational supplies on board after we arrived in Fiji and we just gave the last of these away for flood relief programmes after the devestation here. (kids going back to school with no books, clothes etc.) Another gift you can give that costs nothing but time and will open up an amazing number of doors and friendships is using any particular skills you have to give relevant training to villages. I did this by running outboard maintenance courses in a lot of the villages we went to. If you teach them how to do something instead of actually doing it for them, then your gift of time will keep giving for a long time to come. Write up a leeson plan based on about 2 hours duration max and be prepared to be flexible, go through the village chief or police officer in the first instance as protocol is usually very important and he will also make sure the word is passed to everyone. (We noted in some villages the chief actually ordered the fishermen to attend!!)
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Old 03-02-2009, 21:25   #9
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Honestly, Good booze is usually high on the list! Others I have found after travelling third world countries on business for many years:
Cheap digital watches, logo caps, logo or cowboy belt buckles, sturdy cloth "tote bags", Good chocolate bars, inexpensive jewelry, fishing tackle, hooks, lures, spools of monofilament. lighters, Clothing, new or used of any type. inexpensive sunglasses towels,
Inexpensive, or good, knives of any sort, pocket, sheath, kitchen etc. in certain areas giving a knife means the friendship will be cut, make them pay you a penny, that voids the threat.
How a gift is given is important, hold the present in both hands as you pass it to the recipient, never hand it off or toss it as if it had no value to you. if you are given something in return (no matter how insignificant to you) take it the same way and admire it.
good luck
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Old 03-02-2009, 21:40   #10
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I really have nothing to contribute here, but I felt compelled to post anyways.

Living in a country where a pen is so easily obtained it is amazing to me that it is not like that everywhere. I guess my point is we live a privileged life in the states and until this very moment I never really realized just how privileged I was as compared to others in the world. Bookmarking this thread for future use.
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Old 03-02-2009, 22:06   #11
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Fish Hooks

Fish Hooks are easy to carry and make a great gift--especially small jigging hooks for bait fish. Carry as many as you can. (1000's) Treble hooks are good, too, but most islanders in remote areas don't have the means to go far from shore to fish. Earrrings-junk jewelry is appreciated, so raid the jewelry case before you leave home. Respect local customas as sometimes it is the young men who wear the earrings. Local schools can use pens and pencils and notebooks. Ask them what they need. Give with respect. Realize that some cultures will not thank you for your gift. Instead they feel it is their responsibility to pass on the favor. What a wonderful idea! We once gave away our boombox to a young man who was paralized after a fall from a coconut tree. It meant a lot to him. Remember, you can always replace what you give away.
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Old 03-02-2009, 22:28   #12
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snapshots

if you have an on-board printer and a digital camera, you're gold, especially with children and with parents of children.

of course, always ask permission before you take a photo.
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Old 03-02-2009, 22:59   #13
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MarkJ

Indonesia is one place you can get mobbed by the urchins for handing things out. But I can tell you, they still love stuff that says "Made in America". One thing that might be easy to pack would be small American flags, sew on flag patches, Tee shirts with the flag.

The economy in Malaysia is much better than in Indonesia and therefore, less needy. But I think "Made in America" still is desireable.

I think the snapshot idea would go a long way, if you can pump them out fast enough.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:58   #14
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A friend of mine learned a 1/2 dozen magic tricks. Where ever he went he had a crowd of children constantly squealing and laughing. Their parents were very appreciative. He was well loved where ever he went.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:56   #15
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Just one more thought about taking goods into a place and giving them away. What happens to the poor old trader whose buisness has just been crashed because a rally of 100 well meaning cruisers has been to the islands ahead of him on his route?

Is it breeding a welfare society?

Is it fair on a community to receive when the next one without the nice anchorage goes without?

Which kid gets the present? The most needy? Or the fastest to get to your boat? The friendliest? The islands little entrepenur whose going to on-sell it?

Maybe its like the sand. We should just leave transient footprints?

Is giving really screwing with their economics?

If you give 50 exercise books does the teacher stop the class and introduce you? Does that waste the kids education time more than the donation is worth?
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