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Gifts for village children?

Columbia, South...
Level Contributor
10 posts
38 reviews
Gifts for village children?

There is a village near the jungle lodge we will be staying at and it has been suggested that we bring something for the kids. Another post in this forum suggested clothes and I will definitely bring some of those, but something small and fun would also be nice for our kids to bring. Any suggestions?

6 replies to this topic
Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
11,406 posts
101 reviews
1. Re: Gifts for village children?

Please consider making a donation to a local school or clinic rather than handing things out to kids randomly. There are many reasons why that is a poor practice. Besides, would you want smiling strangers handing things out to your kids??

San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
Level Contributor
8,530 posts
130 reviews
2. Re: Gifts for village children?

I agree absolutely. It is wrong to encourage kids to expect free hand-outs. Much better to donate to projects that involve self-help or benefit entire communities.

los angeles
Level Contributor
1,034 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Gifts for village children?

My wife and I visited a nearby village during our Amazon trip. When the kids saw us coming, they hurriedly lay their handicrafts for us to see. Our guide suggested that we buy some stuff we like. There were 3 families selling hand-made items during our visit. They were selling some bracelets, necklaces made out of beads and other stuff which are really cheap. Like $ 1.00 each.

What we did, to help out in our small way, is that we bought items from all 3 families. We were told that this is a good way to help since the families need cash the most. This also encourages the villagers to work and not to depend on hand-outs.

We also ended up buying some live chickens and fish which we brought to the lodge, grilled and shared among the workers there. Certainly one of the highlights of our stay.

Columbia, South...
Level Contributor
10 posts
38 reviews
4. Re: Gifts for village children?

Good ideas to buy crafts and also make a donation.

Since I've got kids, I might also get some dollar store stuff (like punch-a-balls) as kid-to-kid presents that they can all play with together. Less weird for kids to share with other kids, don't you think?

OR see if I can score any Spanish language picture books at Goodwill or Half-Price to be donated to their school

Edited: 12 July 2018, 09:07
Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
11,406 posts
101 reviews
5. Re: Gifts for village children?

The issue with individual gifts is that what if you have five toys, but are surrounded by ten kids? That creates jealousy among those left out.

A friend routinely takes deflated soccer balls on her travels and says they are a big hit. I don't know if she packs a pump or not.

Books are a great idea as they are scarce and very expensive in remote regions. Perhaps your kids could select some books and deliver them to a school. But please don't expect a classroom visiti, which disrupts instruction and is a distraction the teacher is stuck having to manage.

los angeles
Level Contributor
1,034 posts
8 reviews
6. Re: Gifts for village children?

I don't know which part of the Amazon you folks are headed. We went to Iquitos and traveled 110 km - 3 hrs by fast boat to reach our lodge. It's very remote. No electricity, no phones ... nada!

We saw children as young as 10 y/o paddling canoes, spear fishing for food. These kids are hardy, hunters and gatherers type. Having said that (books are probably o.k. but heavy and bulky) I would definitely bring dozens of inexpensive baseball caps (not with fancy logo stuff) and give it to the village elderly for distribution. I noticed that everybody uses them including women 'coz it gets very hot and sunny over there.

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