Things to bring to villagers

Gifts are not expected, but you could consider bringing small gifts for close associates and/or friends of the person you are visiting. Since giving gifts can set difficult (and sometimes annoying) precedents that can sometimes hinder development, you might first want to check with a PCV or someone living in a community to gauge how appropriate gift-giving might be.

Be modest with your gifts. A $20 gift is often more than a month’s salary, and it could easily be inappropriate. If a more expensive gift is to be given, it should be something given to the entire village and for everyone’s benefit. Feel free to ask for suggestions if you want to make such a gift to a village.

Gift ideas:

  • Baseball caps are very popular¬† (check the thrift shops);
  • Jasmine tea has been a big hit among young men;
  • Matchbox cars;
  • Inexpensive jewelery;
  • Calendars (buy them on clearance or pick up free ones from businesses and banks;
  • Markers and crayons for kids;
  • T-shirts (especially new ones, soccer shirts are a BIG plus);
  • Nice baby clothes from the secondhand store;
  • Nice-looking watches (inexpensive, like $5-$10. Thrift store again!)
  • For someone very special a $30 camera would be a treasured gift;
  • Officials sometimes like things for their desks, like fancy-looking desk sets, clocks, or a nice pens;
  • Small photo albums with photos of you and/or them;
  • Books or magazines in French (or soccer magazines in any language);
  • Brightly colored silk scarves;
  • Small change purses and key chains;
  • Nice handkerchiefs for men and American bandanas.