Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

What to bring to give away

As promised, my post about what to bring to have even more fun interacting with new people in port.

The things that worked best or worst were not really what I expected.  For example, of all the things I brought for kiddies to play with, my camera was by far the best thing.  I always thought of cameras as somewhat isolating; that the photographer would always be separated from the world by the lens.  It is true that cameras can hurt relations when you use it to take pictures of people without asking or in dodgy situations (don't ever do this) or take pictures of the military in Tibet (unless you like the idea of having your camera taken away, definitely don't ever do this).  However, if used correctly, having a camera is an awesome way to have fun with people, especially kids.

Taken by my homestay sister, Sara

Taken by my homestay sister, Kofi

I was nervous the first time I handed over my precious camera to a group of kids, but they were great and very careful.  In many different countries I had a great time showing them how to take pictures or taking pictures and then showing it to them.  (I really wish I had brought one of those Polaroid or instant print cameras so I could have given the pictures out.)  Plus, once I got back and uploaded pictures, I had a great collection of the kids and I making funny faces or the kids taking pictures of what was important to them.  I seriously can't recommend using your camera in this way enough.

A lot of people, including myself brought some fun trinkets for the kiddies.  I went a bit overboard but don't regret it one bit!

Try to bring a variety of trinkets so kids of all different ages and abilities can enjoy them.  The best things I brought were less something I just handed out, and more something that promoted interaction.  Face paint, stickers and nail polish were really fun to have.  

When shopping, just try to think what would have blown your mind when you were seven.  (Like that fake snow stuff!  Or those saucer popper thingies)  The oriental trading company is a great resource.  

My little buddy showing off his new bling.

On the practical side, school supplies are perfect.  I had so many kids 10X more excited about a pen than anything else I brought.

Without bringing anything material, bringing fun dance moves or clapping games is really awesome.  Think macarena or something like this video of Kyle, an RD, teaching kids the stanky leg.


Learning a new clapping game in Ghana

Another skill that is good to have going into the trip is to know how to fold a few origami pieces.  I had a really great time swapping origami patterns with tour guides or kids I met.  By the end of the trip, I was carrying around paper with me in case the opportunity came up.

On to homestay gifts...It really depends on where you are going to have the homestay.  I brought completely different things for each place I was supposed to have a homestay (the one in Japan got canceled).  Card games that don't need a common language, picture books, school supplies, USA themed shirts, cups etc. are all awesome.  Read up on the countries where you will have your homestay to get a better idea of what would be appropriate.

Finally, I REALLY wish I had known about this before I went.  A lot of the vendors at markets asked me if I had anything American that I could trade for goods they were selling.  I unfortunately never had anything, but it would have been a great way to take the social experience of bargaining to the next level.  People always asked for things like watches, sunglasses, phones (one kid really did trade in his iphone for a drum!), pins, really anything that came from America.  Just like you want the drum because it's from India, people will want a shirt or pair of earrings because it is from the US. 


1 comment:

  1. Did you try american candies?! :-)
    I am sure people would love them.


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