I read this comment by Reef Ransom:
"The other thing that I see happening and it has taken me over 22 years to see this, is the harm that coming here and bringing "gifts" to people and especially young kids has done and does. I know it seems like a nice thing to do and compared to American standards it looks like the people and kids of Belize are needy but that is only us imposing our own first world standards on these otherwise happy and contented people of Belize. I used to always bring little gifts when I first came down but what I have witnessed is that the recipients come to think that in life things are given to them and that it is ok to expect free things and handouts from foreigners. Yes, I mean even little things like crayons and books for school kids. I imagine some might be thinking I am just hard hearted but I don't say this out of that type of feeling. If you want to give a gift to the people of Belize come and show consideration for their way of living and don't assume that what you have in America or elsewhere is better. Be their friend, talk to them, share your time with them and I believe you and they will be the better for it. Imagine if your kids grew up getting gifts from lots of different people all the time."
I've also seen posts from boarders about bringing gifts. I tend to side w/ Ransom, realizing there's lots of room for debate, but we also would like to contribute something while we're there.
I read that the library is in need of children's books, so we've picked up a few to bring. Any other ideas? Is this a common practice? I don't want to come across as the ugly american, and realize I'll take home much more than I could pack in a suitcase to bring to Belizians. Anybody else done much of this?