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Make a Difference Have you 'made a difference' while travelling, by fundraising or donating time and energy to a worthwhile cause such as wildlife conservation or tsunami reconstruction efforts? Tell us how you did it, what the experience was like, and how others can help. Are you a non-profit organisation or individual who knows of an opportunity for travellers to help out in a less developed country? Tell us about it and provide contact details here.
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  #1  
Old 8 Apr 2010
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It can be something small.....

When I traveled to Costa Rica I noticed that the kids were playing football (soccer) with just the bladder from a worn out ball. When I came back home I went into a Salvage store - one that gets stuff from wrecked 18 wheelers or storm damaged areas, etc. They had a huge box of sports balls so I picked out several of the soccer balls and deflated them. On the next trip south I threw a couple in my bag. When the kids showed up to play I gave them one of the new balls for their game.

A box full of hackey sacks from Oriental Trading or similar does not cost much and they dont take up a ton of space if you scatter them around in your gear - as you give those away you gain a little room for the things you pick up along the way.

Lee
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Old 9 Apr 2010
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Do be careful doing that. Some riders gave out pens to all the kids on there run down now any time any rider rides by all they get is. PEN PEN PEN from all the kids and rocks if they do not hand any out.
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  #3  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by CaptTeach View Post
When I traveled to Costa Rica I noticed that the kids were playing football (soccer) with just the bladder from a worn out ball. When I came back home I went into a Salvage store - one that gets stuff from wrecked 18 wheelers or storm damaged areas, etc. They had a huge box of sports balls so I picked out several of the soccer balls and deflated them. On the next trip south I threw a couple in my bag. When the kids showed up to play I gave them one of the new balls for their game.

A box full of hackey sacks from Oriental Trading or similar does not cost much and they dont take up a ton of space if you scatter them around in your gear - as you give those away you gain a little room for the things you pick up along the way.

Lee
Hi Captain

DL Biten is right and there's a fair bit of comment on HUBB about this handing out of stuff and the problems it causes.
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  #4  
Old 9 Apr 2010
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You've got to decide whether you want to encourage begging by kids wherever you travel. If not, you probably shouldn't be handing out gifts that way.

Fortunately, there are other ways to do it. You can establish a real relationship with a family, a school, a village or another sort of organization, and give to them in either structured or casual ways. This can actually be beneficial, although you do need to pay attention to the underlying messages you're conveying without meaning to--messages like "I'm rich and you're poor and you should adore me and everything I do...." Which is much what makes throwing pens or candy out your 4x4 window so appealing to those who favor this sort of interaction.

I am totally supportive of the impulse to give something back to the areas in which we travel, which give us so much pleasure and so many learning opportunities. But handing out soccer balls and hacky sacks to kids who come clamoring around my bike probably won't do it for me. I'm always interested in hearing how others cope with the issue.

Mark

(hiding from the mid-day sun in Brazil)
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Old 10 Apr 2010
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Playing with them

I really enjoyed playing football and cricket with the kids I met on the street and the loved it! It would seem to have lots of positives and no negatives. The kids loved it, the adults all loved it, and it really seemed to reduce the 'them and us' feeling. Perhaps in a way some of those kids will grow up thinking that not all foreigners are wield aliens who turn up in big trucks/bikes.

And it was great fun for me

Simple, free and everyone can pack a bit of extra time in their bikes!
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  #6  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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Also

Remember not everyone you meet is potential beggar - lots and lots of very poor people tried to give us stuff, and it is nice to give something in return. Certainly lots very nice people would have(eventually) taken a small gift without tainting them as potential beggars. Sometimes common sense can take the place of general rules, and then, as the Capt said, maybe a hackey sack would be a nice present for some kids. After all kids are the same all over the planet and love to play
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  #7  
Old 10 Apr 2010
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Yes I am not saying do not help out gust do it on the sly. Like when all the kids go inside at night. A new ball on the field in the morning or play a bit with them and "forget" the new ball or tell them it is to big for you to take. Or as a payment or thank you to a person or family. Or as gift to a school or church. None of this will make begging kids at the road every time bike runs buy. Just as not bribing the cops but giving him a cigar may make one of your problems go away.

Think we all have been humbled by the giving of the poor.
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Old 11 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLbiten View Post
Yes I am not saying do not help out gust do it on the sly. Like when all the kids go inside at night. A new ball on the field in the morning or play a bit with them and "forget" the new ball or tell them it is to big for you to take. Or as a payment or thank you to a person or family. Or as gift to a school or church. None of this will make begging kids at the road every time bike runs buy. Just as not bribing the cops but giving him a cigar may make one of your problems go away.

Think we all have been humbled by the giving of the poor.
I like that idea of having a stash of cheap but decent cigars to tilt the favour of a cop !

While on the road, i've given clothes to the Amazon boat people who follow the ferry and gave my new Engand Football shirt to a Brazilian coconet seller in exhange for a gravy stained old tshirt.

Its just one of those things that feels right to do at the time..

I can't say ill be throwing bags of pens to kids in Africa but I'd happily buy a box of work books for a school/mission etc.
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Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 14 Apr 2010 at 14:46.
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  #9  
Old 14 Apr 2010
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Having been all over this big planet I have found that a little bit of giving goes a long way - I have received way more than I have given.

I'm not saying that you should sit on the corner and hand out 'gifts' for an hour - you can trade the worn out bladder for the new ball. Play with the kids and 'forget' to take it with you when you leave Whatever makes you feel good Hell you can buy the kid behind you in line at the store a candybar

Biggest thing to do is have fun

Lee
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