26 January 2007

Do We Really Want to Send Toys?

Sometimes you hear, when you're reading about a child living in poverty in another country, that they have so little that they don't even have any toys.

But they do. I've never ever seen a child who didn't have some kind of toy from the street children in Bishkek to the tiny little children in the City of the Dead in Cairo to homeless children in the US. It might not have looked that great (a pile of bones, a wad of fabric tied together for a ball, a stick for a doll), but they had toys and they played. They didn't necessarily need what we think of as toys.

And when I saw how some of the traditional games are disappearing because of toys and video games from other parts of the world, I really wonder if sending those toys to other countries is even a good idea.

Of course, toys can be a good idea after a natural disaster. And there's nothing wrong with sending toys. But our toys aren't any better than theirs. I wish we still played with bones.

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