Cruisers Forum

  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-03-2021, 09:55   #1
Registered User
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nova Scotia until Spring 2021
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,976
Provisioning for "Gifts"

Indeed, not provisioning for food and drink, but in this context, this could include that.

Long-term cruisers to developing countries can pay locals for various services or fresh foods/water/fuel and can thereby help local economies. Farther off the beaten track, however, what "gifts" to the locals are worth bringing along that are a) compact; b) not redundant due to oversupply; and c) not seen as patronizing?

I understand this will vary from place to place, and I understand the once-welcome gift of surplus T-shirts and other articles of clothing has gone by the wayside as our used clothing in the richer countries gets dumped in the Third World. Presents I have heard that are appreciated and meet the "cheap and small" criteria are reading glasses, notebooks, coloured pencils and related stationary. Are there other items someone in an isolated Pacific island or New Guinea might appreciate, aside from "lug your Honda ashore and help us build a community space with power tools".
Can't sail? Read about our travels at Can't sleep? Read for fast relief. Can't read? Avoid, because it's just personal reviews of sea books.
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2021, 17:42   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southport CT
Boat: Sabre 402
Posts: 2,724
Re: Provisioning for "Gifts"

Books are something people might value, though the language might be a hurdle, depending upon where you went. Peace Corps volunteers all over the world ask the Darien Book Aid Plan ( for books in English though, so perhaps not too big a hurdle. Technical books on subjects like plumbing systems, electrical systems, motors, wind & solar power might be useful. Children's books could go over big, too. Books aren't too heavy and don't have to take up a lot of room. (You could also read them.)
psk125 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2021, 17:49   #3
Registered User
nwdiver's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC
Boat: C&C Landfall 38
Posts: 821
Re: Provisioning for "Gifts"

Fish hooks, fishing line, ball caps, dive masks and ashore I carry an inexpensive stainless knife in a plastic sheath that I find great trades for.....for me school supplies are not trade items I give them away freely to schools, do make sure they are well packed I had a box of note books turn into a box of damp pulp.
nwdiver is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2021, 18:06   #4
Marine Service Provider
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Port Credit, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 7,095
Re: Provisioning for "Gifts"

We were approached by a dozen shirtless, shoeless kids on a Cuban beach. They had little bags of coffee they offered as a gift. They quietly suggested that it wasn't required but a return gift of a used t-shirt or two would be appreciated.

We returned to our hotel room and filled a suitcase for them. It took over an hour to get back to them and it was humbling to see their faces as I'm sure they did not believe we would actually return as we said we would.

Most of us truly do not understand what we have.
If you're not laughing, you're not doin' it right.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2021, 18:55   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 20,437
Re: Provisioning for "Gifts"

We found people elsewhere need just what people here need. People elsewhere also want what people here want.

Tops is a genset. If power is not an issue, then power tools are GREAT. And also non-power tools. Sorts of fishing gear worked too I think (I left my salt water Mustad hooks in Tonga, with love) - lines, nets, spear-guns. Also masks and fins.

But that is boys. Ladies seem to prefer kitchen tools over power tools. Bright red nail polish was gone before we said hey. As were those lovely African style combs we had onboard (think of it, they were the real thing too - from Africa!). Etc. It was easy as I often gift my gf, so I simply picked up items that I know work like a charm.

Kids. Eh. Who knows what a kid may like. CANDY. ;-) They also like toys. I think boys like baseball caps a lot. Girls seem to prefer cute colorful T-shirts. And all kids loved flipflops (which we bought in Panama - a dime a dozen). Have I mentioned CANDY?

We did not have any, but I know from other sailors that reading glasses and quality shades are very desired in remote places. I will have them next time we go. Older people have plenty of eye wear where it is very bright.

If you meet somebody whom you fall in love with, and who has a special dream, you can always send them that specific thing they may need or want when you are back in a place where it can be had. Which we did too twice. (One time it was a specific book, the other time - guitar strings).

I wish I could sail an rtw again one day, just in a slightly bigger boat. Especially in a small cargo boat ... :-)

barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2021, 06:33   #6
Registered User
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nova Scotia until Spring 2021
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,976
Re: Provisioning for "Gifts"

Interesting replies, thank you. In the sense I mean, "trade" and "gifts" are essentially the same thing, as "trade" maintains the dignity of both parties. Now, while we can't give people our gensets, we deliberately bought portable Hondas specifically to take them ashore and, if necessary, run power tools to help build structures that would take hand tools a great deal of time and labour.

Good ideas on the books and fishhooks and related gear.
Can't sail? Read about our travels at Can't sleep? Read for fast relief. Can't read? Avoid, because it's just personal reviews of sea books.
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2021, 13:00   #7
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 28,506
Re: Provisioning for "Gifts"

For the ladies, we had a woman friend that would wear costume jewelry ashore, rings, earrings, bracelets, that kind of thing, and take them off to give to the local women. It was an instant entree into the local woman's world. Outside of cities, in the little villages, clothing was still welcome...many places they dress up for church. Clothing for children was always welcomed by the parents. I don't have direct experience of this, but I would guess that ceramic paring knives would be very welcome among the females and males.

Children, baloons are fun for them. Not quite as bad as candy.

Teen boys, swim fins, goggles, fish hooks, and Jim was asked for maths coaching.

Men, also fish hooks (small, for inside the reef), nice T-shirts, and sometimes they want shirts with collars. Good quality hand tools are in demand, lots of outboard motors to maintain; and also for wood carving (especially in the Solomons), (also for solomons, wax, to wax the carved wood objects).

National Geographic magazines, and generally mags with lots of pictures. We did encounter a doctor in one village who was desperate for any kind of scientific journals, and another man, of chiefly lineage, but who also had killed another man in a fight, wanted "literature", not crime fiction, or thrillers, but fortunately we had a Steinbeck novel we could give him.

It is what it is, and you can only do the best you can with what you have. Sunglasses are a mixed bag. Some places they want them, but local culture forbids you hide your eyes from the chiefs, so not so popular.

When you consider the chiefs, they are sort of like Kings in the 1100's: they have more responsibilities than is immediately apparent, and they do expect their gifts first, before the commoners. It took us a long time to realize the high level of respect they have within their communities, and it is important to all that we show our respect in the proper forms. [Westerners tend to favor those who are the underdogs, and look with suspicion on hereditary chiefs, but it is our point of view, not that of those we visit, necessarily, and they are too polite to correct us, maybe because they view us as visiting chiefs.]

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is online now   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My "Gifts" Mknebes Flotsam & Sailing Miscellany 8 22-09-2013 07:18

Advertise Here

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:10.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.