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Gifts for locals

Eugene, Oregon
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Gifts for locals

We are in Arusha in mid-November for a business trip/short safari. My daughter is very interested in what would be nice gifts for any children she encounters during our visit.

Suggestions??

Easy Travel & Tours Ltd
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Shadows of Africa
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Eugene, Oregon
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11. Re: Gifts for locals

We are back, and what a wonderful trip!!

I can answer my own question now! Keep in mind we didn't have time to visit any shcools, but the biggest thing the kids along the way wanted was ink pens.

Our wonderful driver, Boscoe explained that the wiggling hand movement from the little ones was indicating that they wanted pens with different color 'bodies, and ink.

I didn't bring any extra on safari, but grabbed one from the lodge and gave it away.

Next time I'll stock up!

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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12. Re: Gifts for locals

There are at least a few people on this forum that will recommend that people NOT hand out gifts from the car window or just randomly on the side of the road. I am one of them.

There are a few reasons for this that I will gladly go into if anyone would like me to elaborate.

ireland
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13. Re: Gifts for locals

please elaborate sir? any info is helpful.

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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14. Re: Gifts for locals

Why not give pens and such to children on the side of the road? I can think of a few reasons and finding the right way to explain can be difficult, but here goes:

#1 - There are better ways to help. My assumption is that people who want to bring gifts are doing so because they want to help. Giving a few dozen pens or whatever out a window are frankly not really going to have the same type of impact that you can have if you give in a more significant fashion by donating to a non-profit organization that is doing good work - where your impact will be far greater. You can get instant self-gratification and all kinds of nice warm feelings for yourself by giving a pen out a window (you'll get a smile!) but if you truly want to help, this is not the way to do it. My opinion, of course.

(2) Don't encourage a begging behavior. I do not want my children to beg on the side of the road and I'm sure you don't want yours to do that either. I'd rather have them get what they need from the appropriate place. They should get pens from their parents or from their teachers. Again, my opinion.

(3) Cultural significance: Let me preface this difficult-to-explain point by noting that I spent 2 years teaching high school math in a remote village and later obtained a graduate degree in Social Change and Development. From a development practitioner's perspective, I believe that a huge part of a nation's ability to make progress (or not) boils down to its culture and its people's self-identity. That self-identity is organic and always changing, but for Tanzania, like most African nations, a large part of their self-identity, I would argue, was strongly influenced by colonialism. In the days of colonialism, Tanzanians were taught that foreigners, and white people in particular, were superior. Too much of that sentiment still remains in Tanzania and I think that handing gifts out of a car only strengthens that sentiment. I would much rather give gifts to an adult Tanzanian and let them give them to the children so they can see their own role models in a positive light. Okay, I realize some readers are rolling your eyes right now, but that's okay. Here's another way to think of it. In the development world, people like to use the buzz words: grassroots development and local ownership. This kind of development means that local people are taking action to improve their own lives. They are participating and contributing to the process. They are not waiting for dollars to fall from the sky and save the day. They are collaborating with foreigners perhaps, but a large part of their future is in their own hands. Giving gifts randomly, on the side of the road, in my opinion, actually works in the opposite direction.

Let me emphasize that I do believe that the people who give out of their car at the side of the road have nothing but the best of intentions and they are all good people. They just don't realize that there are negative implications to it and that there are some truly wonderful non-profit groups out there that could use the support so much.

And one final note: I strongly encourage everyone to find a non-profit organization in Tanzania that is doing great work and support them! I also encourage you to find a non-profit that does work outside of the tourist areas, especially Arusha and Moshi. These 2 towns already receive the vast majority of the foreign aid entering Tanzania.

Winchester, United...
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15. Re: Gifts for locals

Theres a great place called Meserani snake park near Arusha and the owners have a snake park ,campsite and bar and the profits from them have gone to the building of schools, orphanage, adult center and a clinic which is free for everyone and they have built small hut for the local women to make and sell there own goods. The school are always looking for donations(pens, pencils,stickers) and the children in the orphanage need things like soap and maybe a new t-shirt.

You can check out their website www.meseranisnakepark.com

you can even ride a camel!!to the local village and spend sometime at the school.

This is so much better then handing out sweet in the street.

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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16. Re: Gifts for locals

Great suggestion Princess!

I do want to emphasize that the vast majority of Non-profit work (aka NGO work) is done in Arusha and Moshi. Any efforts to go outside of that area would go to areas that have a far greater need for help.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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17. Re: Gifts for locals

I would go along with that Brian. There are a lot of people working in the Arusha and Moshi area and sometimes the rest of the country is left out in the cold (so to speak). Not that there is not a need in the North, but it appears that where there are tourists that's where the money seems to flow to.

Winchester, United...
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18. Re: Gifts for locals

hi brian of brooklyn,

just to say at alot of the schools built are way off in the areas where tourists dont go, the local people come to the camp to ask for help . they are provided with materials and knowledge but do the work themselves which makes them proud of what they do.the owners taught some of the locals how and where to build rain reservoirs and now they have water for cattle for most of the year.they have trained 2 local ladies to became nurses and now they go out to these villages giving treatment to people who cannot get to the free clinic and they are the only people to have anti venom for snake bites which sometimes can be up to 5 people a week. but i agree with you that you should not give sweet to kids on the streets.

Hagerman, Idaho
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19. Re: Gifts for locals

I agree with Brian about not encouraging begging. It often result in the children growing up to become adults who still expect you to "give them something". This ends op being annoying for you and embarrassing for Tanzania.

Of course having said that it can be very hard to say no to the cheers of karanga karanga! when your bag of peanuts are spied laying on the front dash!

Peanuts are cheap and easy to get in Tanzania and the kids love getting a handful or shirt full

One thing about pens-from an environmental standpoint its not a good idea because those pens either end up getting chucked aside or burned when they run out of ink. wooden, painted color pencils are just as appreciated-you can find some really cool ones with matching erasure tops.

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I think its better to give the pencil, candy, whatever to the kid than asking an adult you see to hand them out since the latter lessens the chance that the kids will actually see the gifts.

20. Re: Gifts for locals

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