Travel Tip Of The Day: Use Your Right Hand

Whether you’re traveling to Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, or other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, the hand you use to do daily things has significant cultural values.

And for most of these countries, using your right hand will go a long way.

For example, if you are invited somewhere for dinner, it’s customary to shake with your right hand before being asked to come in to someone else’s house.

And when sitting down to eat, you should only use your right hand, especially if there is are no utensils.

Dipping with foods like fufu or injera can be initially tricky if you’re left-handed, but it will become easy with practice.

The exception to eating with your right hand is if there are utensils provided, then you are free to use both hands to eat, but you should still always err to the right.

The left hand is often used for personal hygiene and is considered unclean, especially when eating communal dishes, which are common throughout Africa.

When meeting new people, any typical greeting involves using your right hand — always shake with your right with a firm grip and make eye contact.

Business endeavors will also primarily use the right hand.

For instance, you should always give a business card out with your right hand, and receive it with the right hand as well, though using both to receive is also considered normal and is considered a sign of gratitude.

Any presents or objects should only be received with your right hand as well.

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