Author Topic: A question for members in South Africa, or those experienced in travel there.  (Read 1540 times)

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Scuba_Dog

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I hope this is the right place to ask this.

Some close family members are taking a three week long trip to South Africa.  They will be visiting all sorts of places and the trip itself sounds amazing!

One thing they were told is that it's considered nice to bring candy for the children they will encounter on their travels. 

I wondered what the locals think of this and if it's truly an appreciated gesture or if it just causes issues after they leave?  Another suggestion was pencils, notepads or toothbrushes....  What about that?
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iradney

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While candy is nice, it doesn't leave the same lasting impression as a toothbrush, hairbrush, or cuddly toy would. Which particular areas will they be travelling in?
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Scuba_Dog

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It seems they will be all over.  Their itinerary is 13 pages long and they will be spending a little over three weeks.

We were just discussing whether or not bringing things like that is really appreciated, or if it can do more harm than good.
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T'Mar of Vulcan

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I'm just not sure who they're expecting to give the sweets to? Children of host families where they'll be staying? Random children they come across in the street? If it's children of people they know it's fine. If it's street children they'd be better off giving money to an organization that helps street children.

Unless they have TV cameras following them they probably aren't going to be mobbed by kids. Most kids are in school until at least 1.30 p.m. If they go to rural areas kids might come up to them out of curiosity. But I doubt it.


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Scuba_Dog

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I'm just not sure who they're expecting to give the sweets to? Children of host families where they'll be staying? Random children they come across in the street? If it's children of people they know it's fine. If it's street children they'd be better off giving money to an organization that helps street children.

Unless they have TV cameras following them they probably aren't going to be mobbed by kids. Most kids are in school until at least 1.30 p.m. If they go to rural areas kids might come up to them out of curiosity. But I doubt it.

I think that is what they wondered a bit also.  The notion to bring candy, etc. was given to them by the agency that puts together the trip. 

I think they will likely not do it.  Honestly, the suggestion felt odd to all of us, but I thought I would ask here and get some thoughts.
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StressedGroom

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Are they going with a large tour group or are the traveling independently?

With the tour group bring the candy, as it will probably be a more controlled environment.

I've never been to South Africa, but from my experience in other countries, the first time you are swarmed by the small children (offering flowers (for a dollar) or shoe shine) it's cute.  The fourth or fifth day of it gets old and you do your best to ignore them.

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I've never been to South Africa, but from my experience in other countries, the first time you are swarmed by the small children (offering flowers (for a dollar) or shoe shine) it's cute.  The fourth or fifth day of it gets old and you do your best to ignore them.

Except that we don't have child labour here, nor children who do that kind of thing. The most I've seen is the adult beggars with babies or the street children who come up to you individually, but most places with a large amount of street children have signs up telling you how to donate to help them instead.

I've been to tourist hot spots around the country, and to Soweto, and not been swarmed by any kids whatsoever. I mean, Durban is usually a good place for tourists, and I've only seen the occasional street child or two. Unless the kids in Soweto swarm tour buses? Cause I've just been there in a regular car...


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Sharnita

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I wonder if it depends if you are there in a "missionary" type capacity.  My dad has been on several medical/dental missions to various countries, though not South Africa, and there were a lot of kids who gathered around.  They weren't really begging or anythign but they were intrigued buy strangers and excited by the idea of people there to help in general.  I have no idea if/when this might apply in South Africa.

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I wonder if it depends if you are there in a "missionary" type capacity.  My dad has been on several medical/dental missions to various countries, though not South Africa, and there were a lot of kids who gathered around.  They weren't really begging or anythign but they were intrigued buy strangers and excited by the idea of people there to help in general.  I have no idea if/when this might apply in South Africa.

It could be. Except kids here are used to people of every colour and description. How would they know who was a stranger?

I do know that when kids find out by your accent that you are from another country, they do get very excited and want to know all they can. We had an American education student at our school for a week who was constantly fielding questions about her home. At one point I turned around and turned back to find about eight girls all touching her hair! I was like, "Whoa! That's rude! Don't do that!" And the student said, "Oh, they're very polite, they asked first." Then she told me about how back home in the U.S. people are always coming up to her, touching her hair without permission and saying, "I love your hair!!" I still thought the kids were a bit forward because they have encountered people with fine, curly hair before. They have kids in their class with fine, curly hair!!

Sorry, got a bit sidetracked there. I don't think any of them had met an American before.


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Sharnita

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In the countries my dad has visited the clinics are announced - some people travel a ways to be there and wait in line for hours for their shot at medical treatment.  I alsot think that they actually wear t-shirtsand sometimes travel in vans that identify them.

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In the countries my dad has visited the clinics are announced - some people travel a ways to be there and wait in line for hours for their shot at medical treatment.  I alsot think that they actually wear t-shirtsand sometimes travel in vans that identify them.

It might very well be like that in a rural area then. I'm a city girl although I have been all over the country.  :D


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