We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

West Yorkshire
4 posts
Save Topic
Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

We have recently returned from our honeymoon at the IOBC in Diani, which was an amazing place. We made friends with many of the locals but one lady in particular was very nice to us and we agreed to keep in touch with her. I gave her a disposable camera to take some photos of her children and the local school, so that I might persuade my son's school to do some fund raising for them. We exchanged e-mail addresses and she has contacted me asking for my home address to send me the photos. I was happy to do this but my husband is worried and other people I know who have been there have expressed their concerns. The only drawback I can see is begging letters, but as I am prepared to send things out to them I can't see that happening. Am I being naive? Any advice or previous experience of this would be very helpful. Thanks.

Norfolk, England
Destination Expert
for Kikambala
Level Contributor
525 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

We have kept in touch with families and made good friends. Most of them ask for nothing.

Sending things out is more of a problem. They have to pay tax on the items which you send out, often more than the value. We used to send things but they did not arrive. Even if you register them they can only be traced to Nairobi.

Certainly keep in touch,you may well be able to sus things out by replies to questions.

Hazel

Mentioned in this post
plymouth england
Destination Expert
for Kenya
Level Contributor
5,880 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

I agree with hazel ..keep in touch I doubt very much if this lady or her family will turn up on your doorstep.

whatI would do is wait for the photos this can take up to a month to get here and it is costly ..a small envelope with a couple of photos could cost 250-300/

quite a large chunk out of a salary ..

IF you get an email asking you to send money for her to post your photos ..drop it .. if she is seriously wanting to keep in touch and for you to help her school she will pay the postage herself ..

sadly it is nigh on impossible to get anything delivered to Kenya .. high cost of customs ot release the parcel/package and the main one stealing ... in all of almost 11 years one letter

one small package has only ever reched its destination ..terrible ...

just be aware that to her you are manna from heaven

perhaps the means to improve her life as a true friend

I see you have made no mention of this lady asking -or you giving any money - that is unusual so I think-

NO......I hope that she will be genuine ..

I have a wonderful lady friend who never ever has asked us for anything ..so perhaps you too might be fortunate .

Good luck ...

West Yorkshire
4 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

Thanks for that, I had no idea about the postal issues. As far as I am concerned I have made friends for life there and I want to communicate with them and help them in any small way I can, but other people seem to think it dangerous to let a person in a third world country have your address!

West Yorkshire
4 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

Drakesdrum,

thanks for your reply. The lady never asked us for any money but she did ask us if we had any clothes for her children, which we gladly gave her. Although I can now see it will be impossible to send her any more!

What a shame when so many people are willing to send things. I will give her my address and wait for the photos to arrive. If all goes well and I am able to arrange donations to the school what is the best way to make sure they arrive? Is there a charity you can send things through or anything? Or is it best to try and send things with someone going out there?

Manchester
Level Contributor
461 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

I don't see any harm if you really liked the person. We were asked several times to exchange email addresses but declined as I had only known the people a matter of hours. I had suspicions from what I heard and saw that many visitors are later put on and asked for gifts. Often referred to as 'freinds abroad' who sent them clothes or other items. Who can blame them for trying to make the most of relatively rich western visitors?

If you really liked the person(s) then take the friendship as far as you feel comfortable with, just be wary of any requests that set alarm bells ringing such as directly asking for money or sponsorship which to my mind would be inappropriate if you have only known someone for a day or two.

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
989 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

In our years of visiting Kenya we have come across some very genuine people and also some of the biggest conmen telling the saddest stories to line their own pockets. Usually they ask for money or helping to educate their children more or less right away. On the other hand we have met & have made great friends with the original taxi driver who picked us up from the airport on our first visit to Mombasa over ten years ago, we are actually going to be bestman & best woman at his wedding in November. We have transferred money to his account to pay for land for the orphanage & he has never acted dishonestly. So yes friendships can be made & when we arrive at Mombasa airport his welcome is the warmest we have ever came across !!!!

As for sending things out, forget it, if it gets the length of Mombasa, they open it there & then proceed to extract taxes from the person, they tried to charge us £50 taxes on my phone which I forgot & had to get it posted, when I refused they threatened to endorse my passport. The best thing is to go on TA and see if anyone can bring stuff out for you, that is the only way,

plymouth england
Destination Expert
for Kenya
Level Contributor
5,880 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

Exactly !!!!!!!!!!!

Ballina, Ireland
Level Contributor
677 posts
118 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

it is so sad, to realise that we cannot send things over, I do not begrudge them any help they can get, and I fail to understand how the customs can strip poor people of a gift...... It is so bloody annoying. I whine about paying tax on goods from the usa, but If the sender marks gift on it I can usually recieve it fairly enough, altough the irish goverment have spotted that loop hole. I have not been to kenya yet, but I feel I probably would want to help orphanages, so how do I do that once I go home, or even families, I already sponser a child in uganda, but to help someone you have met makes a big difference.

perhaps I too am niave.... but I would rather be niave than cynical.

Manchester
Level Contributor
461 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

Well said Biddypat

The world would be a much worse place if everyone treated others the way they fear they will be treated themselves rather than the way they would rather be treated...... If thats not too deep!

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
16,175 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Is it safe to keep in touch with locals?

Biddypat,

Once you are absolutely certain you know and trust the local person, orphanage, school, etc it is relatvely easy to send money. There is, of course, an overhead, which varies on which method you choose, but it is not as great as the overhead on sending parcels, and you can be sure it goes to the intended recipient