Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ugandan Ettiquette

This was a section of the newsletter sent out from Trey's mission. I found it pretty interesting!


 Ugandans tend to communicate more indirectly than directly.
 Stories, proverbs, and the like are common means of expressing a point indirectly and require the implicit knowledge of the lis-tener.
 Greetings and a good amount of small talk almost always occur before talking about business.
 Humor plays a big role in communicating and most Ugandans enjoy a good joke. However, it is best to avoid sarcasm as it may not translate well, if at all.
 Generally, people prefer indirect eye contact. This does not mean you can’t look at somebody directly, but continuous eye con-tact during conversations is not a must. Overly direct eye contact can be considered aggressive by some. Women and children often will look down or away when conversing with men or with elders.
 In most situations, Ugandans are not overly concerned with being punctual. People are expected to arrive within the first hour or two after the appointed time.
 The higher the status of the person, the more they are excused of lateness. Also, it tends to be that the more prestigious the event the later guests will arriving. This usually applies to both social and business meetings. Punctuality tends to be more valued in business situations.
 When gesturing or beckoning for someone to come, you should face your palm downwards and make a scratching motion with the fingers.
 It is rude to point at people as pointing is reserved for dogs, so usually the whole hand/arm is used.
 Holding the palm upwards and then motioning in a small flick downwards (like throwing a yo-yo) has a variety of vague mean-ings. It could be questioning "what's up?" " What?"; apologizing "Sorry, what can I do?"; filler "You know."
 Pointing fingers upwards and rubbing the thumb along the fingertips is the sign for money.
 Special traffic gestures when trying to hail a taxi: Pointing straight upwards (repeatedly for emphasis): I'm going far. Pointing down: I just want to go a little ways (rarely used, because then they don't pick you up. Hand flat, open towards the ground about waist-height: I'm going a medium distance.
 Walking over versus around any bowls or pots (especially those containing food) is considered rude.
 Spending time in silence versus conversation is often times also interpreted as rude.
 Men almost always wear long pants, even in the hottest weather; shorts are a sign of being a child.
 Dress is highly valued in and people who dress well are respected.
 Make sure shoes are cleaned and polished. People will look down on you if you have worn looking shoes.
 Speak slowly and enunciate -- most Ugandans have difficulty understanding fast, strung-together English.
 Local greetings are a bit difficult to learn but many people in rural areas will greatly appreciate this small effort.
 If you look like a foreigner you are likely to be overcharged for most things. If you can afford this, it doesn't really matter, just pay. If you can't or would like the right price, try bargaining by at least halving the price they gave you.

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