Peru - what to hand out to kids?

Old Jul 13th, 2002, 09:08 AM
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Peru - what to hand out to kids?

We'd like to take some small (very packable)items to give to kids during our trip to Peru. Have thought of pencils, pens, and toothbrushes, as well as sol. Don't want to take candy, gum, etc. as have read that dental care is almost unknown. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
Old Jul 13th, 2002, 09:26 AM
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Pens and pencils are a good idea, as well as sugarless gum and candy, and stickers. Also, balloons for the older kids.
Old Jul 13th, 2002, 12:51 PM
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Do not give out anything. This encourages begging from children around the world.
Old Jul 14th, 2002, 06:38 PM
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I went to Cuzco, my three year old carried a small bookbag with a couple of things in it. Crayons, tiny toys, small notepad to draw on. Two indian girls asked me to let them have a crayon each. They might ask but regardless we need to keep our little ones busy.
I made him pack his own bag and the deal was he had to carry it himself, so he wouldn't pack too much.
Dental care is not almost unknown but if it was, take a toothpaste and their toothbrush. Nothing's going to happen because they it candy.
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 12:43 AM
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You shouldn't give out anything except time and effort.

It is quite pitiful that you choose almost to mock poor people by giving out trinkets. Many children now resort to begging all day instead of going to school. Many poorer communities have figured out begging is better than working !!

If you want to give away something, give away something of yourself either time, effort or money to a local charity who will be best placed to use it.

Don't destroy another poor person's life !!
Old Jul 15th, 2002, 08:52 AM
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I never gave out the crayons or anything else they might have asked me for, on the contrary I went on a mission trip to Ayacucho and spent a week with very poor children, much poorer than what you will ever see in Cuzco. I made animal balloons for them, we sang, we had a clownshow, games, plays. We also helped out several schools with supplies for the children to study. We have also purchased seeds for them to help them get started on growing their own crops and sell the food they grow to make their own money and not depend on missionaries and tourists. These are communities were you have to drive several hours on dirtroad and when the dirt road ends you still have several kilometers to walk before you reach them. They have one room for the entire community which is considered "the one shared bathroom" and it is four walls made of stone. You do your business on the floor and cover it up with dirt. My point was: The children will ask you to give them crayons but that shouldn't keep you from taking them for your own child. It is impossible to keep a three yer old calm while you're on the road a whole day on your visit throughout the Sacred Valley without a notepad to draw on.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 01:33 AM
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My message wasn't aimed at you. It is aimed at tourists who announce their arrival by parking in a central square ( in a car or in a tour bus ). They then proceed to hand out trinkets so they can see the poor children with big saucer-like eyes scrabbling for them. Such displays are extremely vulgar. I still stick to time and effort. Allowing the children to watch you make animals out of balloons meant you gave something of yourself and didn't just hand out a mountain of pens or sweets.
Old Jul 21st, 2002, 06:43 AM
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Since I'm a mother with little ones, my main concern in any trip is my kids. What clothes will they wear for the weather? what snacks are healthy? roadtrip games? what do I hand out to them to keep them busy while I visit museums and cathedrals?.
When I read your message I immediately thought you were asking what to hand out to your kids. Maybe now you can understand my first message better. I never even imagined a tourist standing in a corner giving out candy and pencils. To be honest I think it might be a little offensive. It is preferable that you donate supplies to a school or hospital.
I LEAVE TO PERU IN 5 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old Jul 22nd, 2002, 02:56 PM
handouts vs. gifts vs. donations
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As policy, I would not give out gifts on an individual basis. Rather find out what schools, churches, relief organizations or orphanages are in the area and donate thru them.

My argument is not that it "encourages begging from children around the world" which it may or may not, but rather it puts YOU in an awkward position among locals, by showing off your own (relative) wealth.

Personally I do give money to people begging or selling (i.e., the chicklet kids in Mexico) as I do panhandlers at home, but THIS gets me into all kinds of trouble, admitting this, on the Fodors BB.
Old Jul 22nd, 2002, 03:23 PM
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Ok, this is just my opinion, but having just returned from Africa and seen many children and adults begging. It seems to me like the best thing, as a casual tourist, that you can do, is to stay in hotels that benefit/hire the local population, be sure that you are dealing with eco-sensitive local companies, by products actually made in the country you are visiting. While in Africa, I made a point of avoiding shops that sold "African-Style" merchandize that was actually made in somewhere else. We stayed at a lodge that paid for a doctor to visit the local villages and tend to the people, we ended up giving him a bunch of or unused medical supplies on our last day, and some money for his practice. We are planning a trip to Peru (MAY 2003!!!), and I don't think I will hand out any trinkets, but I will be sure to research our trip thoroughly so that the local population receives as much benefit as possible from our being there.
Old Jul 22nd, 2002, 06:02 PM
M & J
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While visitng a very small village in Chile, we found a group of students involved in a marching band camp. THey were staying at a school. The school had only one small world map. When we returned home, we mailed to the school maps of their country and the world. Education can help lift someone out of poverty. Do what you can to improve a life. And, yours will be improved in the process.
Old Jul 24th, 2002, 08:57 AM
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I live in South America. Most children beg because they are poverty struck. Some because they are drug addicts. Others because there parents send them to beg. Whatever the reason, poverty is the root cause. I believe that if you are truly interested in making a change in a child's life, go to a orphanage and donate a chunk of money. If you want wide eyed children and personal satisfaction, give them candy, coins or small toys. There is nothing wrong with this and I don't buy the theory that giving a begger produces a begger. Poverty produces begging.
Old Jul 25th, 2002, 12:51 PM
Dr. Head
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Right on, David! Here's what we do when we travel to Latin America. We pack an extra bag full of clothes that we don't wear anymore. Not ruined or worn out, but, you know, the ones that just seem to end up at the far end of the closet, or in a pile that you never go through to pick something out. Pack it in a duffle bag that you won't mind leaving behind. Then find a church in any town of your choice, and leave it with the Father. He'll know who in town really is in need, and distribute it accordingly.
Old Jul 26th, 2002, 01:46 AM
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Right on Bogota David. I met a boy begging of La Candelaria near El Museo de Oro. When I asked why he was there he said his parents had sent him out to beg for a whole day. If we didn't give to beggers then he wouldn't have been sent out to beg. Instead, he might have been in school getting educated.

That is the point. It would seem more profitable to beg in tourist hotspots than get educated and take a proper job.

Begging just gets one person money for the day. It doesn't improve anything. Long term benefits and directed aid are more important.

Just my 2 cents. Having said that anybody who does go out and beg around Bogota deserves $200 a day for bravery.

Perhaps when they do grow up and become those fake police tourist scam artists prevalent around Bogota they become very rich; at the expense of keeping tourists out of your country and benefiting other people and communities.

Do you see the vicious cycle ?
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