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Old 02-03-2021, 10:55   #1
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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".
Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2021, 18:42   #2
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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 (https://darienbookaid.org) 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.)
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Old 02-03-2021, 18:49   #3
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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.
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Old 02-03-2021, 19:06   #4
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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.
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Old 02-03-2021, 19:55   #5
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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 ... :-)

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Old 05-03-2021, 07:33   #6
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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.
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Old 05-03-2021, 14:00   #7
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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.]

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