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.
, 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.
, 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
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.]