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Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

norfolk, england
posts: 404
reviews: 29
Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

While staying in Playa Dorada we did both the Monster Truck and the Outback Jungle Safari. They were both very good and we had a ball (especially boogie boarding on the Outback!!). BUT they are so different with their attitudes to giving gifts and sweets to the children. I was shocked on the Monster Trucks that they encourage you to throw sweets out of the trucks as you pass the kids on the side of the road. When you make a stop they grab things out of your hands, they almost pull your bag from you to take what you have.

One little girl had a plastic bag full of sweets, hair accessories and three toothbrushes and she wanted more that I had! They grab at anything for themselves, they wont share. I was horrified at what us tourists have created. Several trucks pass by 3 times a week all giving sweets and gifts. There will shortly be a huge dental problem there.

On the other hand, the Outback Safari had a completely different attitude. We stopped at a school and local house and we were told we shouldn't give anything to the children as its against the law! Giving to the children encourages them to bunk off school and beg instead.

Please dont take anything for the children - give to a worthy charity instead so that all Dominican children benefit, not just the ones on the tourist track.

New York
posts: 168
1. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

We stayed in Punta Cana and went on the Monster Truck Safari. They did NOT encourage us to throw things out of the truck while it was moving. In FACT we were told to wait until it stopped and be sure no kids were in danger of going under the truck. Our guide also yelled at the kids that tried to grab or ask for things. He made them line up a distance away from us and let us approach if we wanted to give anything. At the school we gave our items directly to the principal to give out as needed.

My understanding of the Monster Truck Safari is they are a charity and you can donate to them which they use to help the schools.

north wales UK
posts: 917
reviews: 2
2. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...


I do understand what your concerns are regarding the healths of the youngsters that are given sweets from the trucks full of tourists etc.. your points made I fully understand.

We can take lots of different things to help these children & famillies when we visit the DR - such as school supplies like pens, pencils, paper pads etc.. that will help the schools. Or clothing even to help out.

We can donate and make a difference to lives in the DR - like the Dream Project that I saw on Debbies dominican website and I am sure Gregg who comes on this site can name a whole list of ways we can help.

It is nice to give the children something they like - but as you say there has to be healthier ways for us to more actively help out - small toys even? rather than sweets?? I think we do come back with hindsight see we could of done things differently.

I did read somewhere since coming back home we can donate medical/first aid supplies like bandages, plasters, anti septic wipes/ ointments etc.. because they are so expansive over there or they couldn't get these things easily. Maybe those are items we can look at for future trips??

There must be lots of ways we can read about on these websites that we can help.

I guess we live and learn don't we??


posts: 551
3. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

hey guys- the monster truck safari is not a charity. it is a million dollar foreign owned business.

The monster truck safaris are fun and somewhat educational but if you ask those kids begging for candy where they live most of them will take you back to a house with a tv cell phone etc. They act like they have never been given anything in their life and then 20 minutes later they wait for the next truck of well intentioned tourists. Give your money to a reputable charity not to little kids pretending they are poorer than they are. There are so many people working hard to improve themselves in this country, they are the ones who deserve support.

ps .Dominicans are extremely good at making themselves look poorer than they are

Nova Scotia
posts: 9,884
reviews: 1
4. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

Thank you Liz.

I am admittedly a little bit biased as I am one of the Founding Directors of Debbie's Dominican Republic Children's Foundation (DDRCF). We are in the process of incorporating under the federal non-profit laws in Canada and after that it is our intention to seek charitable status both in Canada and the US (I'm not yet sure of the US process - one step at a time).

We are committed to proving an avenue for like minded tourists to the DR to do something more than soak up sun on the beach. For that reason DDRCF has taken on the working name of "Beyond the Beach". We are almost set to launch our new website www.beyondthebeach.org which will explain exactly who we are and what we stand for. At present we are very, very well established on the North Coast with drop-off points in Puerto Plata (Isaira Tours Office run by Martin Espinal), Sosua (Checkpoint Pub run by Colleen and Mark Misner) and Cabarete (the DREAM Project Office). Here we support the DREAM Project www.dominicandream.org ; the Mustard Seed Community, a home for abandoned disabled Dominican Children and we are in the process of beginning support for a large public school in one of Puerto Plata's poorer barrios. Some details can be found at http://fiesta.webcentre.ca/donations.htm until the launching of our new website.

We have the ability to make arrangements to have donations in Punta Cana picked up at your hotel but the gentleman who does this for us is on an extended vacation with his wife to his home country to allow his firstborn to be born there. This program will begin again in the late Fall. We are actively seeking both charities and drop-off locations in the Punta Cana area and this will be an evolving part of our effors for next little while. We try very hard to have a positive impact with as small a negative impact as is possible and to accomplish this we try to follow the guidelines as set forth bys groups such as International Ecotourism and the Philanthropic Travelers��� Societies. Some of our guidelines can be found here http://fiesta.webcentre.ca/donations.htm

More will be forthcoming over the Summer as we proceed down the incorporation road and expand our program offerings.

Thank you for your time.


posts: 8
5. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

drpride. . . i would really liketo know whereyou get your information. I'm not quite sure how you can say "Dominicans are extremely good at making themselves look poorer than they are". This statement is pretty outragous. Just so you know,I'mpretty sure you haven't seen all of the Dominican people. When you go on Safari's and stay at resorts, you obviously aren't going to be seeing alot of the poverty. Just so you know, there is poverty, and instead of ignoring it, and making up bogus stories about the poor helpless kids of the DR I'm going there this summer to build them homes. So the next time you start belittling others, get your facts straight.

Yorktown Heights
posts: 5,415
reviews: 22
6. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...


I agree with you on that, drpride is so bias, if D.R. so great how

come so many Dominicans die trying to reach Puerto Rico.

And you know that New York City has the largest population of

Dominicans outside Santo Domingo. They send billions of dollars to help their poor relatives.

posts: 551
7. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

Look I have spent thousands of dollars helping people in this country. All I said is the kids on the monster trucks get visitors giving them stuff probably 10-15 times a week. I said that there are better places to send you charity dollar and to be prudent with who you give your money too. Check out some of the charities names that Greg provided. As for dominicans I think I know a little more than you. I stand by my comments that many people in tourist areas make themselves look poorer than they are and have developed a sence of entitlement. Sig you are a waste of time. Considering how many russian prostitutes that have left your country to work in the DR I am surprised you would even open your mouth.

ps - i always come on here to offer a little bit of expertise on tourism and see what kind of feedback the country . but i always get dragged into other stuff. from now on i will just contribute to travel related threads

posts: 551
8. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

ps brianna good for you for coming and helping out. my information comes from being part dominican and living 4 years in the country. Of course there is poverty, its a problem and I dont turn a blind eye. Thats why i encourage people to be prudent and make sure their charity dollar goes to a good cause, like the one you will be helping out with.

Yorktown Heights
posts: 5,415
reviews: 22
9. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...


Why are you comparing Russia to D.R. it is beyond me.

D.R. is just tiny, backward country. How did it change since D.R. gained independence from Spain? I think you are worst off

than under Spanish rule. Why do you think D.R. is the cheapest

island in , except Haiti? Do you know that Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Yes Russia is currupt that

is why in do not live there and do not defend their practices.

You I assume living in New York call yourself 'drpride', maybe

you should move to you country and and help get rid of slave labor in the hotels. Because that is what your goverment and

the hotels practice there. Do you think that if you would charge

Aruba prices anybody would come?

posts: 551
10. Re: Gifts for the children on Safari trips - dont take...

sig... this response is to this and too another of your recent posts.

you are obviously not that well informed about dominican economics because the country had 4 % economic growth in the first 6 months of this year. that is outstanding. i will get you a link where the imf confirms that. things are looking up so ...we'll see what happens. there are concerns about jobs being lost in our free trade zones to china however that is a worldwide concern at this point.

secondly the dr is not as backwards as you think.

did you know that in per capita mercedes benz purchase in the entire hemisphere santo domingo is #1 and san francisco de macoris is in the top 5. You can see it for yourself when you go into the city and drive around piantini naco gaczue bella vista etc. i felt like i was a derelict driving a newer grand cherokee

secondly apartments in those communities are more than in miami. there are thousands of appartments in santo domingo worth more than 1 million us. you can see what some of them look like at www.supercasas.com

there is a large middle class too, go to any resort on the weekends and see the thousands of middle, lower-middle class people who can drop a few hundred dollars to take their family to the resort. building developers can not keep up with midde class appartments/duplexes /home in the 40-100k us range as there is a huge demand.

i will be back in 2007 hopefully for good.