5 Ghanaian Hospitality Rules you should know as a Visitor
Before visiting any country for the first time, it is essential to learn a little about where you are going.
What do they love to eat? What currency do they spend? Are they traditional? Or the language they speak, knowing the answer to these questions will help you to not only enjoy your stay but relate better with the indigenes.
One of the most important things to know is certain things you should not do concerning hospitality in Ghana.
Ghanaians are accessible and welcoming people, but they are very keen on discipline and respect, especially for the elderly.
There are certain things foreigners should not do, but should they disregard these directions, the indigenes are hospitable enough to let it slide. Still, foreigners must also learn about these things outside of common courtesy before they visit.
Below are a few of such regulations to guide your conduct as a visitor to Ghana;
Do not greet, receive or give items with your left hand
Using your left hand for certain gestures like greeting or shaking someone’s hand to receive or provide an item is forbidden.
It is regarded as an insult to people of all ages because evidently, the left hand is what we all use when we visit the washroom, so using it literally means, and excuse our French. Still, you are rubbing shit all over the other person hands.
As funny and weird as that may sound to you, this regulation is taken seriously everywhere in the country. Using your left hand will make you look disrespectful and a little clueless.
You should always use your right hand, especially receiving an item. However, suppose your right hand is visibly occupied and you still have to receive or give something to someone.
In that case, you should say ‘sorry for the left’ and put your right wrist under your left hand before making the exchange.
Always greet people you meet.
The greeting is a huge part of Ghanaian culture, and it’s an act of respect, friendliness, and concern. Saying a ‘good morning,’ ‘good afternoon,’ or ‘good evening’ to your neighbor, the elderly, a stranger, or someone you were scheduled to meet shows that you have good manners.
If you should pass by someone without greeting and you end up in a position where you may need help, that person may not help you, hence its essence.
When someone greets you, and you do not respond, it is also considered rude, don’t do it. If you happen to visit a chief in a rural area, do not stand in their presence to greet them with a cap on your head or hands in your pocket. Neither should you sit in front of them with your legs crossed.
Don’t ask someone older how they are doing.
Asking someone older than you how they are, doing-especially after you have greeted them, is not common practice in Ghana. You will be regarded as ‘mpayinsem,’ which is translated to ‘the elderly issue,’ a curious child. In Ghanaian culture, a curious child is a disrespectful child.
It is believed that when a child asks an elderly person how they are, and he pours his problems on him, they is nothing the child can do about it, meaning the child is just wasting their time trying to be inquisitive.
As weird as it sounds to you, doesn’t it quite make sense? Think about it. However, you can ask the elderly about their children, who may be younger than you or be of your age.
Do not take pictures of people without their permission
This one is also a common regulation in many other countries. You can even be sued for taking pictures of people without their consent. It is just brutal and downright disrespectful.
A few Ghanaians, especially children, will not mind this practice, but it is not done. Someone might pick a fight with you, forgetting you are a foreigner, especially if they tell you to stop and stubbornly continue to do so.
It is simple, would you like people or tourists taking pictures of you when they visit you, wherever you come from? Wouldn’t it feel demeaning and weird? Well, that is how it feels to the indigenous people.
It is okay to be late.
Ghanaians are never on time, unless for business meetings. If you have been invited to an event, birthday party, wedding, or even a funeral party, don’t even think about going the time printed on the invitation card unless the person telling you repeats it repeatedly that you should make it on time.
In Ghana, when someone gives a time for an event, the event starts about one hour later, perhaps because many people are not time conscious, but apart, we don’t know if there is another reason at all; it does not even make sense; however, it is not all Ghanaian who is like this, many of us are actually time conscious.
Like we said before, Ghanaians are keen on discipline and respect. That is the most important thing to keep in mind, as ridiculous as many of these regulations may sound.
It is essential to heed them to avoid trouble from the locals, not that they are troublesome, but the Ghanaian is very hospitable. They already love you the tourist, they will only love you more if you pick up their habit before you come.