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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Lightbulb beggar or not beggar

I was wondering how you guys answer the beggars while travelling,for me I try not to promote begging, I do give sometime to some individual but I do prefer to give food to street beggar, I am pretty much avoiding to give money especially to kids. In some countries I willingly give money to kids or adults if they do provid a service or sale some useless "stuff or art".I also give money to old people which I know cannot work ,I guess this depends also on continent, so far the worst was in some part of Africa (sometime north africa kids get a bit pushy), I will soon be going to India and will have a new experience at this level.

Share you experience at this level.
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  #2  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Allah kareem

Quote:
Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
Share you experience at this level.
Obviously, we each make individual decisions about who we give to. In Arabic speaking countries, when you don’t want to give, simply say ‘Allah kareem’ meaning ‘God is generous’, i.e. ‘God will look after you’, which cannot be refuted by a believer.
Stephan
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  #3  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Never ever give to children!

In most cases the parents sent them out to beg and the only way to stop this is by not giving them anything. And not using services provided by child labour.

I know that in some places they need to work for the family to survive, but in many places the parents keep the children out of school so they can work or beg.

But again you must choose your battles. I never give at turist destinations, but in "normal" foreign cities I give.
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  #4  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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I only give food. Once in a while if I am in an area that I think is very poor I will stop at a cheap bakery and buy a lot of bread to give away. Usually people take it, but sometimes they are insulted that you think they are poor and get mad.

The good thing about bread is that it is cheap and goes a long way in feeding people. It is also perishable so you know that it is not going to be sold for alcohol/smokes.
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  #5  
Old 12 Feb 2008
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The worst, of course, is when you give a beggar food and they look at you as if you had just served them up a turd burger and toss it on the ground. Worst, I say, because you've just wasted perfectly good food, not to mention given your philanthropic ideals a bit of a dent.
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  #6  
Old 12 Feb 2008
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Other people's problems are just that.

Hard? Maybe. I try not to give - not out of meanness but prefering not to interfere with the natural way of things in the country I am passing through.

If one sees you giving something that makes them more persistant. I once gave a few shillings to a poor wretched looking cripple in Kenya, only, as I walked away, to hear his cries as other beggars robbed him of them.

Depending on the circumstances I sometimes will do a deal with kids that if they watch my bike, and it is OK when I return, I say I will give them something. And I do!
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  #7  
Old 13 Feb 2008
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I generally don't give anything away, although occasionally succumb. I always acknowledge people though, even if it's just a shake of the head. Everyone deserves the respect of being acknowledged.

Never give ANYTHING to children.

Matt
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  #8  
Old 13 Feb 2008
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I will give coins to people who obviously can't work for themselves. Kids will get nothing except mild abuse. Recently an old lady asked me for money but she refused the coins and asked for notes. I guess she never heard that beggars can't be choosers.
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  #9  
Old 14 Feb 2008
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Cool to give or not to give, that is the question

Some great comments already. I find it hard to give money to children who show signs of being harmed to make their plee, as by giving to these you may be making their tormentors harm others, thinking that way they can get more money.

I agree with giving to those who seem to old to help and I also think its a good idea to observe what others do especially locals.

Remember not everyone wants something and sometimes a small gift goes a long way. i had some oil pastels in India that a foot artist appriciated and used to better effect far more than I ever could.

I liked the arabic Allah Kareem, I also find La Chokran yim shin bakara(no thanks maybe tommorow) works well to deter unwanted carpet sellers etc.
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  #10  
Old 15 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by stuxtttr View Post
I also find La Chokran yim shin bakara (no thanks maybe tommorow) works well to deter unwanted carpet sellers etc.
Unless that's dialect, it should be 'yimkin' (possibly/perhaps/maybe).
Stephan
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  #11  
Old 15 Feb 2008
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I think you will be surprised if you follow some of these beggars and see who ultimately takes the money.

If you must give, give unpacked food. The truly needy will appreciate it, and at worst those who do not will stop pestering you.
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  #12  
Old 3 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephano View Post
Unless that's dialect, it should be 'yimkin' (possibly/perhaps/maybe).
Stephan
That's correct but the easiest way to transliterate might be "La shukran, yumkin bukra" or just even saying "bukra habibi," although not to someone of the opposite gender as 'habibi' is somewhere between 'buddy' and 'my dear/darling' and could be interpreted as being rude or a smartass.

In English-speaking West Africa you can politely refuse a beggar with a 'Maybe next time, I'm late-oh.' Don't feel stupid about putting on the local accent there for quick exchanges, everyone does it and rather than making you look like an idiot it can get the point across quicker. 'Mebbe nestaim, ay lade-oh'

I had a heartbreaking experience with a 5(ish) year old Guinean kid who was begging and shoe-polishing in Freetown. He didn't ask me for money at all but spent about 2 hours sitting with me wanting to show how he was learning English by reading Time magazine to me. I really wanted to give him something but saw the response from the local teenagers when I bought us both a Sprite and realised that it would be very rough for him if they found out he had cash. I wanted to give him all of my leftover Leone (about USD100 - about 3 months salary for a public servant) but it showed that even in the cases where it is the right thing to do it can have very nasty consequences.
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  #13  
Old 7 Jun 2011
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I think you have to have some sensitivity to what is acceptable in the area. In West Africa for example there is a substantially different response to beggars compared to what is normal in the UK. I've been in restaurants there where beggars have come in and started eating the food left on plates by diners who have just left. In the UK they'd be thrown out on their ear, there they were welcomed, offered a chair and given a refill. I've seen it often enough to know it's not just one soft-touch owner. I've also seen beggars come into banks and be given a little money by the counter clerk - not something likely to happen here!

They were fairly obviously genuine beggars and if the circumstances are appropriate I'll donate a little. Kids touting for "cadeaux", border hustlers or street corner "guides" don't tug at my purse strings unless they've done something to earn it though. On my last trip I had starting problems with the bike and rather than sweat myself to a standstill each time trying to get it going I'd pay the inevitable group of kids a little money to push start me. No problems with that, they've provided a service and I've paid for it.
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  #14  
Old 7 Jun 2011
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I always try and observe the locals and take my lead from them on begging and only ever give food to children, as Backofbeyond has pointed out what is not acceptable at home might be normal elsewhere. I was in a cafe in Bolivia when a very old, slightly confused looking woman came in begging from customers, everybody gave her a little and when she started begging from her own reflection in a mirror the waiter gently lead her to the door and showed her out.
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  #15  
Old 7 Jun 2011
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I always try to give my business to those who would appreciate it most - street sellers rather than supermarket chains etc.
Other than that, I am in country purely to observe. All of our pockets are pretty shallow, so we can't benefit a population by small spontaneous acts of generosity.
It's also quite easy to think that most of the beggars have only been reduced to the state by seeing an oppulant westerner arrive who may be able to save the day with only a small handfull of change or notes - the truth is that these people are normally also begging the hell out of the locals, so I don't feel in the least bit bad - especially in Africa, after travelling through the middle east on the way, where poor people actually gave me stuff out of respect for a stranger and guest in thier country.
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