Tipping & Donations

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Tipping & Donations

Postby darlinggirl » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:10 pm

I leave in about a week for a month in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and am just wondering about a couple things...

Tipping - I've prearranged (thru Gap) a transfer to the joining hotel because I'm arriving really late at night. How much should I tip the driver? The cost of the transfer is $40 and here in Toronto I would typically tip $5 for a cab ride that cost that much. Any advice?

Also, I plan on hiring a taxi for the day when I have a couple days to kill in Nairobi after my tour ends and if I pay the driver a flat rate, should I tip him too?

Donations - I've read that you can bring items to donate to the locals, especially the kids, which I would love. Any advice on what would make the most impact for them? I'm seriously running out of room in my luggage, but wouldn't want to miss out on an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small.

Thanks!
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Re: Tipping & Donations

Postby AdamfromCanada » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:45 pm

darlinggirl wrote:I leave in about a week for a month in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and am just wondering about a couple things...

Tipping - I've prearranged (thru Gap) a transfer to the joining hotel because I'm arriving really late at night. How much should I tip the driver? The cost of the transfer is $40 and here in Toronto I would typically tip $5 for a cab ride that cost that much. Any advice?

Also, I plan on hiring a taxi for the day when I have a couple days to kill in Nairobi after my tour ends and if I pay the driver a flat rate, should I tip him too?

Donations - I've read that you can bring items to donate to the locals, especially the kids, which I would love. Any advice on what would make the most impact for them? I'm seriously running out of room in my luggage, but wouldn't want to miss out on an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small.

Thanks!


Donations are a slippery slope in Africa. Even things like pencils, crayons and colouring books have their issues, because it builds expectations from the children there that they should expect to be given stuff by white tourists. Kids panhandling the tourists is a real issue in Africa and most of them are going to be happy with a wave and a smile.

I think you're probably better off giving to a charitable organization like UNICEF or the Red Cross as opposed to giving anything directly to kids. You'll save room in your bags too.

Tipping is a harder question. The G Adventures transfer from the airport is a lot more expensive than a local taxi would be, so you probably need only give a couple bucks if you're tipping on that.

Tipping the guides/cooks/drivers is a bigger question, and one that seems to be a big issue with huge variance in how much contributed from person to person. Give what you're comfortable giving. My only thought is that this person has looked after you for a week or two or more. I'm definitely tipping more than I would a Canadian waiter for a nice meal (and it's funny how many people are hesitant to give more than that!)
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Re: Tipping & Donations

Postby lesliew » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:57 pm

On my trip to Tanzania, we were asked to not give any handouts to children in villages because it creates an expectation of gifts and encourages begging. However, some of the people in my group had brought items for donation so our guide arranged for us to stop at an orphanage. The teachers there greatly appreciated the pencils and notebooks that some people had brought. I had not brought anything, however the orphanage had a donation box so I gave a monetary donation. I thought this was a good way for my money to go towards something useful, like the general expenses of running the orphanage.
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Re: Tipping & Donations

Postby markmol » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:02 am

our CEO in Uganda told us to give the donations of pens crayon etc to the teachers so that they would hand them out. He mentioned if you gave them directly to children quite often bigger children would take the items away from the children you gave them too.
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Re: Tipping & Donations

Postby AdamfromCanada » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:28 pm

lesliew wrote:On my trip to Tanzania, we were asked to not give any handouts to children in villages because it creates an expectation of gifts and encourages begging. However, some of the people in my group had brought items for donation so our guide arranged for us to stop at an orphanage. The teachers there greatly appreciated the pencils and notebooks that some people had brought. I had not brought anything, however the orphanage had a donation box so I gave a monetary donation. I thought this was a good way for my money to go towards something useful, like the general expenses of running the orphanage.


Definitely a much better idea than giving articles to specific children. That said, a friend of mine spent some time volunteering in an orphanage and said that a huge amount of what's donated made its way home with the staff rather than reaching who it was intended for. The logic for the staff is that why shouldn't they have it, because it could benefit their family as well.

Charity is a very tough thing to manage well. Generally, people are proud, and while they'll take help from an outsider, they have a hard time with it. I think that so many Westerners think they need help rankles with many people in Africa and so if you really want to give it, it should be done sensitively.

Remember, by going there, and spending your money in that country, you're already helping the local economy.
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Re: Tipping & Donations

Postby IncaTrail50 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:06 pm

I did the Kenya/Tanzania Wildlife Adventure this past July and we visited a village with a school near Samburu. We had taken pens, pencils, and stickers and gave them to a teacher. Our guide said they would be given to the kids as rewards for good marks, etc. She was less than enthusiastic about money donations because she also was concerend they'd be mis-used or misappropriated. One thing they needed was lined blank notebooks. The ones with two staples they will cut in half horizontally and each child gets half rather than one child getting the whole book. That school could also use books for their library. I have a big list of culture-neutral or Africa-themed books my cousin sent if anyone is interested.
We also visited an orphanage in Tanzania. They make sure the kids are in school until 18. Some of our group had brought pens/books donations. The orphanage had a large assortment of artwork/beadwork for sale, made by the kids. There were signs at the front explaining what the money from each piece of art would buy the kids, ie a small painting bought three months of clean water, large painting bought transport to a hospital and treatment while there, etc. Most of us bought some of their art.
As the others mentioned, we were told not to give to kids begging anywhere, and there are lots of kids who call out for pens!

Also, we had pre-arranged our pick-up from the airport with GAP and that driver also drove us around the next day. We mentioned hiring a cab and he already had four others wanting to be driven around the next day so we joined that group. He arrived with a van in the morning and we had a group meeting to decide what we all wanted to see. He was very accommodating and we all got to see what we wanted. Be sure to ask when he picks you up if there is anything arranged like that.
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