myanmar gifts

Old Dec 10th, 2006, 06:56 PM
  #1  
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myanmar gifts

Hi: am going to Myanmar soon...any thoughts on small gifts to bring (from the US) for local kids? Or for our tour guides? thanks
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Old Dec 10th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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For your tour guide might be nice, but not for local kids.

I know your intentions are good, but urge you to think carefully before giving anything to local kids. I believe that setting kids up to expect handouts from tourists is not a good idea. If tourists were to always hand out stuff to kids hanging around sightseeing spots, that would teach them that it is more profitable for them to do that than to go to school. Going to school is far better for their future.

I do understand wanting to give something to kids, though, so why don't you find a way to donate goods or money to a needy group via a legitimate NPO, hospital, orphanage or school. That way, your donation is more likely to end up in the hands of those who have need for it, and will not teach local kids that tourists=gift/handout.
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Old Dec 10th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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thanks for the lecture KimJapan.
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Old Dec 10th, 2006, 08:38 PM
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Wasn't meant to come off as a lecture. Sorry.
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 02:25 AM
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We are going in February. Previous posters (other than Kim) have suggested that it is not a good idea to hand out things to the kids except in the villages around Inle Lake. Don't know if you decided to go there or not. Our tour company has suggested pens and candies as good things to hand out to the children. Your guide will appreciate a nice tip (cash).
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 03:39 AM
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All I know is that when one lot of tourists gives kids pens and candy the next tourist who comes along gets a crowd of overexcited children demanding pens and candy.

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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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Dogster - Given all the other great advice you offered on the Solo Female Traveler thread and the experiences I have had elsewhere - India in particular, I suspect you are correct.
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 04:20 AM
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When we went to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, my daughter (24 at the time) took along a bottle of bubbles with a wand. Whenever she'd take them out and start blowing, she drew a crowd of kids, shrieking and laughing and jumping to burst them. It was a better "gift" than anything I could imagine and didn't create any expectations regarding tourist handouts. Little ways to interact are better than gifts, imo. (Although we did do a school donation with Dara - even that, I had mixed feelings about - although it was a wonderful experience.)
Karen
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 05:05 AM
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That's a great idea, Karen - we'll definitely bring along a bottle of bubbles (in our checked luggage, of course).
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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Thanks Karen -- that's exactly what I was looking for. The thought was to have something in the "back pocket" in case we met with friendly locals (as opposed to playing Santa at tour sites).
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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The sheer joy on the faces of some of the kids at seeing the bubbles (and adults, too) was wonderful - and then there were the warm looks between us and the parents as they, too, enjoyed watching their kids burst the bubbles.
Interestingly, at sunrise at Angkor Wat, it was an elderly Japanese tourist who was taken with the bubbles. Julie was sitting on a ledge and started blowing bubbles just after sunrise. A Japanese man who spoke no English came over to her, watched for a few minutes, and then, wordlessly, held out his hands to ask if he could blow them. She handed them over, he blew some bubbles, smiled, handed them back, nodded thanks, and disappeared into the crowd. It was precious. There's a picture of him in my Siem Reap album (link below, and also some pics of kids bursting them, both in the Northern Thailand/Mae Hong Son album and the Siem Reap album). I was so delighted that my daughter thought of the bubbles!
http://kbutler8.photosite.com/


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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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The pic of the Japanese man is actually in the Siem Reap chapter labeled Ta Prohm, Tonle Sap. I forgot that I had some of the Angkor pics in that album. (And, ok, he's not elderly - just middle-aged.) I love the intense look on his face. He's REALLY into blowing those bubbles.
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