What to bring as a present for himba people
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Jul 11, 2013 7:47 AM Last Post By: segacs
Jun 21, 2013 9:52 AM
15A couple of years ago I was travelling in Namibia with a small tour group and we visited a Himba village with a guide. We did not bring presents.
One of the little boys was quite taken with a keyring with a gorilla on it, which was clipped on a bag I had with me. He was playing with it and I took it off for him to play some more. After a while he gave it back to me willingly (but reluctantly), as he understood it was not a present. I just couldn't find it in my heart to take it back, so I mimed that he could keep it. The expression on his face was priceless and he happily shared it with his peers.
Normally I wouldn't bring gifts on such occasions, but this time it just happened so naturally I didn't think twice about it.
Jun 22, 2013 4:30 AM
Jun 22, 2013 9:35 AM
But I certainly would not go around handing out gifts to random strangers encountered during my stay. Would you hand out a gift to some Londoner who stopped to chat & give you a little history of the building you are standing in front of? Or a cheeky kid who insisted on posing for a picture?
What I did for children was to learn a sleight of hand trick. I turn a bottle cap or something similar into a coin. Which I do not give to the children.
I once had an audience of a half dozen or so teenage Maasai boys. We were in front of a place that sold cheap bottled beer and the ground was littered with caps. They boys kept handing me caps and having me do the trick over & over. I used the same coin each time, but the caps is hidden in a pants pocket. By the time I left, I had so many bottle caps in my left trouser pocket that I was afraid I'd list when I walked. The boys never did figure it out.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Jun 23, 2013 1:10 AM
18But I certainly would not go around handing out gifts to random strangers encountered during my stay. Would you hand out a gift to some Londoner who stopped to chat & give you a little history of the building you are standing in front of? Or a cheeky kid who insisted on posing for a picture?
Exactly right. Even if it is well meaning it is actually pretty patronising and insensitive to hand out gifts in this way. It's real purpose is to make the giver feel magmanimous - if it is nothing to do with the pleasure you'll get from it then why not wait until you get home and set up a regular payment to an appropriate charity?
Wealth is a relative concept. How would you feel if some rich tourists came to visit your area and handed out gifts to your poor, disadvantaged kids? Or if you gave someone directions and they tried to pay you? As stated above the best gift you can give is a viable and sustainable income that ensures they can do things like send their kids to school. That means ensuring that any tour you go on recompenses them fairly and buying the goods they have made.
Jul 10, 2013 9:53 PM
Jul 11, 2013 7:47 AM
20For the reasons many have stated, bringing "gifts" is inappropriate.
On the other hand, some of the villages are very far from the nearest towns and supplies can be a problem. If you're going with a local guide, see if you can offer to transport some village supplies for them, such as food staples. It should be emphasized that these aren't gifts -- you're merely providing the transportation.
And under no circumstances should you hand out sweets, candy or anything directly to the kids. Like others have mentioned, it causes far more problems than it solves. If anything, work with the local guides to see how you might support village-wide projects.
School is a sensitive issue for the Himba. Many of the kids do now go to school but a lot of the Himba feel that by sending their kids to school, they're ensuring the destruction of their culture and traditional way of life. Agree or disagree, but just remember that it's a controversial issue.
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.