gifts & trade items

Old Jun 11th, 2001, 08:02 AM
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gifts & trade items

My son leaves soon to go backpacking through Tanzania and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with his Boy Scout troop. We have been told that it is customary to give gifts to the native people, or to trade with them. Does anyone have any ideas about small and lightweight items for this purpose? He is limited in how much extra stuff he can pack.
Old Jun 11th, 2001, 09:48 AM
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Terry: I have not been to Tanzania. But gifts that I found most useful in Northern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia) and Asia are ballpoint-pens and lighters. Things we usually get for free from banks, shops, restaurants, etc. Also very lightweight, so easy to take with you. Maybe also an idea for Tanzaniza, who knows?
Old Jun 11th, 2001, 03:44 PM
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Hi Terry,
Your son is in for the trip of his life, he will have a great time, as for trade items, they love pens, ball hats, running shoes in any condition, t-shirts of any kind. One guy wanted the one I was wearing and said he would wash it. You can trade these items for their hand made goods, such as carvings, I traded for a carved shoe horn that I just love, most of the time you also have to give them some money. Take lots of pens, small and easy to carry, logos on them is fine. The people are warm and friendly, not like SA where they are hostile, tell them not to go to SA if they can help it. Kenya, Tanzaia, are the best as far as friendly people. Buck
Old Jun 13th, 2001, 07:28 AM
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Sorry,Buck. Not that your answer had anything to do with Terry's question. If her son is going on an organised trip of Tanzania, I hardly think they are going to swing by South Africa so your comment on South Africa was gratuitous. If you have checked an atlas lately, you would notice that the two countries are hardly within backpacking distance.

You are entitled to your opinion but for the record, I have to disagree with your about people being hostile in South Africa. I am sure that there are some hostile people as there are anywhere in the world and there may be an insecure feeling in Johannesburg for example and some of the drivers may be hostile, but I have traveled many times throughout South Africa and Southern Africa and found almost everybody I have encountered, particularly those in the tourist industry, to be helpful, friendly and even excited to be "back in business" after being considered a pariah for so many years.

I have found every aspect of our trips we have done to be well-organised and pleasant with everything more than meeting my expectations. The hospitality and level of service I have found there is exceptional. Many times people have gone far out of their way to help and accommodate us.The majority of South Africans of every color are polite and helpful and every trip there has been an incredible experience. In fact we are taking a group of friends there next year as we have raved about our trips for so long, everyone wants to come too.

I always wonder about people who generalise about a whole country based on their experience with a few individuals.

And to attempt to answer your question, Terry, I agree that t-shirts and caps with logos of sports teams are good. Glowsticks (available from Toys R Us) are a real hit. Possibly glow necklaces. You know the kind that light up at night.

Do not pack lighters or matches in your checked luggage. They are a fire hazard and there have been reports about luggage catching on fire and smoldering while in the hold.

Possibly keyrings that have little games like "etch a sketch" or rubrik's cube attached that you can get at toy stores. Or for adults, the ones that have mini tools attached. How about those keyrings that have flashlights. The mini mini maglites are great and are probably very expensive thre.

Postcards from your home town. Or shotglasses (wrapped in bubblewrap) from your hometown.
Small bags of American candy (obviously not chocolate or anything that will melt)like skittles or the sour candies.

Hope he has a great trip. It will probably be an incredible experience.
Old Jun 13th, 2001, 01:43 PM
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Terry: In our travels through Tanzania, pens seemed to be wanted most. Although it seemed as though the kids were just asking for pens for the sake of asking, not out of a particular need. At least in the rural areas. I'm sure there is a great need in the cities. Getting off a plane on a grass field in the middle of the Serengeti, we were immediately approached by a bunch of Masai children chanting "Gimme a pen, Gimme a pen" It was also was disappointing to be driving through villages with everyone in traditional garb and a couple kids with Chicago Bulls t-shirts in the background.

We did bring our guide a t-shirt and baseball cap that was much appreciated. We never encountered an opportunity to trade for anything.

My rec is to bring a bunch of pens and something a little more substantial for the guides (tshirt, cap, etc) This doesn't replace a tip for the guide though. b
Old Jun 14th, 2001, 07:34 PM
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Shoes were a hot item judging by the number of people trying to remove them out of our truck. Your son probably doesn't want to lug extra shoes along though.

The Masai I met wanted pens and bars of soap. Next time I would take more soap. The kids wanted candy and chewing gum. By the way, I found it much cheaper to buy the elaborate beaded necklaces directly from the Masai than from a market.

US cash seemed to be the currency of choice so I'd recommend carrying some smaller bills for bargaining.
Old Jun 14th, 2001, 10:00 PM
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Thank you Lisa!!

Old Jun 15th, 2001, 07:22 AM
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Hi Local,
I was hoping you'd see this post and respond to it.
Now to get back on track with Terry's question....
Old Jul 19th, 2001, 03:10 PM
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In my recent trip to Kenya, I found that these gifts were very-well received: picture books, pens & stationery, McDonald's small toys, inexpensive gifts from "The Dollar Stores" like jumpropes, bubble juice, keychains...... lollipops, cigars, t-shirts, caps, magazines (especially Oprah). Another good idea is to take a Polaroid camera to take pictures of the people to give to them.

Old Jul 21st, 2001, 10:18 AM
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We were told by our drivers not to give ball point pens to the kids because they use them as weapons against each other. I gave some brightly colored ribbons to little girls and was chastised for encouraging the kids to become beggars. Polaroid photos seemed the best way to trade for a smile.

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