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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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  #16  
Old 7 Jun 2011
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I don't think about it too much but generally it depends on me, not them.

For example, if I'm in a good mood and have some coins within easy access then I'll hand them over but if they're in my jacket at the bottom of the saddlebags and I've had a hard day I'll just tell them I don't have any change.

That said, I give quite a lot to beggars, especially if I've been drinking
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  #17  
Old 7 Jun 2011
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OOOOO a very touchy, but good subject...

I have traveled with all sorts of people who have ranged from treating the beggars (as well as the locals) like some dirty disease that ruined their view, to overly generous people who give to everything to everyone who asks..

Now, I do not believe in supporting begging. I don't believe in giving someone money just because they ask for it is right...It makes a career out of it !!

I've given money to local kids, and other local folk asking but I've always made a job for them to get paid for.. Showing me where to buy oil, helping me carry my shopping (even if i don't need help), or showing me around the local sites.

On the other hand, if I see and old woman begging on the street or someone disabled or obviously starving who has no means of making money without begging, I find it very hard not to give some pocket change... It's nothing to me and may feed them for a few days.

You have to make your own opinion. Travelling through Africa gives you a THICK skin to beggars. You get to know the ones who are just supplementing their income to those who genuinely need help..

Maybe irrelevant, but I often wonder how a "charity worker" feels about driving around in a fully kitted out new £50,000 Land cruiser, eating and sleeping in expensive places, when the people there are still starving !!
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  #18  
Old 8 Jun 2011
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You have to do what you feel is right.

As others have said will your money even if for a little job or task make a difference ? who knows. It might make them change something for the better in their lives, it might make them say this is not so bad i will just do this for a while.

I consider it the "good thing" to do if you can but its completely personal and dependant on what you see around you.
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  #19  
Old 9 Jun 2011
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It is a touchy subject, that I usually find hard to deal with. In India, you will be overwhelmed and I guess that most come to a plain NO as a general rule. As others said, especially with kids, although looks harder to do. One experience we had in Pushkar:

A 12-13 y/o kid comes to us speaking quite good Spanish (our language). Nice, friendly chatting. After a while, he asks if we can give him some money. I say: I will rather give you food (he said he lived in the desert, poor familiy, etc). He takes us to a shop which is quite near and asks for some sort of "dried butter" (?) and gets 1kg package. "My family can live 1 day with this". (very touchy, he looks as it is even going to cry). I look at the price, since prices are always written in Indian products (thanks God for us foreigners!) and then I see a hand written price covering the "right one" which says something like 500 rupees (could be more or much less, cannot remember, but really really high in India). At first, I feel confused, stupid, guilty and even selfish, about denying food to a kid, but "13€ is muuuuuch more than back at home!". Hand-written price. No way this trick or scam. (bring the butter back, share the 500 rupees with the tender).

Feeling scammed, I say to him: much better luck with next Spaniard. The, kind soft, friendly Indian kid looks at me as if he wants to kill me, makes a fist each hand and Mr Hyde comes out. Wow...

From then on, I only give my very own biscuits if i feel like... and still have to count how many times beggars (who were asking for food) refused them! As Indian tourism motto: "Incredible India".

Islamic countries, i open muuuuuch more my pocket, since it is a totally different actitude.
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