Known to be the “Gateway to West Africa”, Ghana is fondly called the “Golden Child of West Africa”. This reflects the stature and importance this country holds in the entire continent. When volunteering in Ghana, you will experience an unparalleled hospitality from the locals. And this calls for being a responsible and sensible traveler when volunteering in Ghana. Volunteering Solutions brings you a list of 8 important Do’s and Don’ts you should keep in mind in order to avoid any kind of unintentional disrespect towards the people of this country:
1. Always use your right hand to exchange items and to eat. In Ghanaian culture, the left hand is considered to be the ‘toilet hand’ and is, thus, avoided to greet, give/take items.
2. 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.
3. Be respectful to whoever you are interacting with, especially, the elders.
4. Learn a few routine words and/or greeting phrases to gel in quickly with the natives.
5. 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.
6. Bringing a gift when visiting someone’s place is a sign of good gesture. People in Ghana like to share.
7. Tipping a waiter is a general practice in Ghana as well. If you find the service good, do leave a tip for the waiter.
8. Ask your coordinator/guide for the appropriate outfit/dress while visiting a particular location or event
1. The first and the most important thing, photography. Do not take pictures of a place or a person without taking consent.
2. When meeting the chief of a village, do not offer your hand unless he does it first.
3. Do not make any derogatory or funny comments about religion or ethnic/political groups. Do not even think about it!
4. Avoid getting out of your senses when drinking in a bar.
5. No event begins before, at least, an hour’s 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”.
6. But, do not be late for a business meeting/appointment.
7. Don’t sit with crossed legs in front of elders or the village chief. It is taken as an insult.
8. Try not to waste food, water, or any resourceful thing. Even the smallest of the things value a lot in Ghana.
Volunteering in Ghana is a wonderful opportunity to understand the lifestyle of local Ghanaians and make friends for a lifetime. Following these simple tips can help make unforgettable memories for life. For more details on volunteering in Ghana, get in touch with our program advisor at [email protected].
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