Ghanaian Culture

Ghana is said to be the “Gateway to West Africa”, the “Golden Child of West Africa”, and much more. These tags are a mere reflection of the importance this country holds in the entire continent. As an intrepid traveler I often look for destinations which are off the “common tourism” radar. This was the reason I chose Ghana for my next journey to volunteer abroad. Oh! Yes, I have a slightly different style of traveling places. I like to take volunteer work at the destination I am traveling to, as it provides me with the opportunity to get close with the natives and understand their lifestyle better.

Last December I traveled to volunteer in Ghana where i learnt from our local guide some really important tips and tricks to have a healthy and safe sojourn. So, i decided to share those tips with you to help you make your visit a memorable one. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts while traveling in Ghana:

Do’s

  1. Always use your right hand to exchange items and to eat. In Ghanaian culture, left hand is considered to be the ‘toilet hand’ and is, thus, avoided to greet, give/take items.
  1. Always greet people when you enter a room. They would be expecting that, and you would not want to wonder why they are staring at you strangely.
  1. Be respectful to whoever you are interacting with, especially, the elders.
  1. Learn a few routine words and/or greeting phrases to gel in quickly with the natives.
  1. It is important that you visit the village chief, when in a rural area. Remove your hat when greeting the chief, with hands out of your pockets.
  1. Bringing a gift when visiting someone’s place is a sign of good gesture. People in Ghana like to share.
  1. Tipping a waiter is a general practice in Ghana as well. If you find the service good, do leave a tip for the waiter.
  1. Ask your coordinator/guide for the appropriate outfit/dress while visiting a particular location or event

Don’ts

  1. The first and the most important thing, photography. Do not take pictures of a place or a person without taking their consent.
  1. When meeting the chief of a village, do not offer your hand unless he does it first.
  1. Do not make any derogatory or funny comments about religion or ethnic/political groups. Do not even think about it!
  1. Avoid getting out of your senses when drinking in a bar.
  1. No event begins before, at least, an hours delay from the mentioned time. Do not be a punctual audience and arrive on time for the event, unless you have ample of free time and enjoy waiting. It’s called “Africa time”.
  1. But, do not be late for a business meeting/appointment.
  1. Don’t sit with crossed legs in front of elders or the village chief. It is taken as an insult.
  1. Try not to waste food, water, or any resourceful thing. Even the smallest of the things value a lot in Ghana.

Waiting for the class in Ghana

Following these simple tips can help make unforgettable memories for life. I hope this would help you have a safe and exciting journey. If you have any questions or doubts, you can ask me in the comment box below or mail me at [email protected]

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