If you go on Safari, the kids love pens.


Apr 6th, 2002, 01:28 PM
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If you go on Safari, the kids love pens.

A post on the airline forum jogged my memory about this issue. Unfortunately, when I went to Kenya a few years ago, I didn't realize just how in demand a simple object like a pen would be.

Everywhere we went in Kenya children and adults would ask "do you have a pen." If you go, a simple gesture like giving a pen or pad of paper, will be considered a great gift. The lack of basic school supplies is really shocking.

I'm sure most of you are aware of this issue. Unfortunately, when I went the overall awareness level was much lower. I'm sure tour company's today make that suggestion. When I went, they unfortunately did not. Anyway, just trying to do my good deed for the day.
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Apr 8th, 2002, 03:31 AM
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We heard the same thing about Egypt, so stocked up on "click" pens. I guess everyone else heard it too, because they were far more interested in small candies or just about anything else! We finally gave away a box of pens to one of the last kids we saw! There was some discussion about whether this "gifting" was condescending or encouraged kids to beg from "rich Americans", but my kids were able to "trade" small items with Egyptian kids for equally small items (like fake alabaster) - maybe they are now having fun telling each other stories about conning the Americans!
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Apr 13th, 2002, 05:58 PM
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We were told by our local guide in Tanzania that the kids all beg for pens because they use them to turn into some sort of little weapons to use on each other - highly dangerous and not appreicated by adults. Americans giving pens to "poor" kids has become quite a cliche in Africa and elsewhere. If you want to help children with basic school supplies, give the pens and paper directly to the schools. This discourages the children from becoming beggars and gets the supplies into the right hands to be used properly.
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