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Giving to the locals

June 10th, 2005

That’s a hard question, should we give money, food, clothes, candy, pen, etc to the locals when we visit a poorer country?

Maybe the fist question to ask is: Do you do that at home? I’m not against giving to the country you’re visiting but giving candy to a kid or money to a junky won’t help them in the long run. Even pen to children is not a very good idea in my opinion because it gives them the impression that we (the visitor) have everything and they will expect a “gift” from the next visitor they see. There are some places that I’ve visited where every single person I met asked me for a “gift”.
If you want to give pen, give it to a school or a teacher, they will know who really needs it. Same for money, give it to an organization that is renown, at least your money will really help someone that is trying to get a better life. Giving to kids can take them out of school to get that easy money. The parents might also force them to beg to visitors. Of course there’s nothing bad in feeding someone that’s dying from hunger. It’s better to give him food than money, at least you know what he’ll do with it. Use your common sense and it should be all right.

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