In Guinea, like in the rest of West Africa, greetings are an important aspect of everyday life. Often, a simple ” ça va?” would enough. Guineans, on the other hand, enjoy it when you inquire about their family, health, and job/studies: “and la famille, la sante, le boulot/les etudes.” It is customary and expected to welcome someone and ask how they are doing before getting to the topic in a conversation, e-mail, or other communication.
Solely use your right hand to greet, eat, and exchange money; the left hand is only used for toilet functions and is considered filthy.
Guinea’s gender problem is, to put it mildly, complicated. Despite the fact that Guinea is a somewhat traditional, Muslim, male-dominated culture, foreign female tourists will have no trouble. Don’t be shocked if you get a million proposals! In Guinea, cat calls, whistles, and other kinds of harassment are uncommon and frowned upon. Guinean men often give up their seats to females as a show of respect, particularly in private homes and outdoor settings.
Men still have a greater social status than women in general, and this is reflected in all areas of Guinean culture (education, jobs, etc.). In everyday life, don’t be shocked if males are treated with greater respect than women. When it’s established that you’re a foreign lady (particularly if you’re a Black foreign woman from the US, Europe, or elsewhere) rather than a local, you’ll generally be given more attention.
Wearing clothes that exposes the stomach to the knees is not recommended for ladies! If worn in public, shorts, see-throughs, tiny skirts, and exposed midriffs are deemed impolite. It’s fairly unusual to be greeted with angry glances, disapproving looks, or worse by native Guineans. Tattoos and body piercings are uncommon, and tourists are encouraged to hide them if at all feasible. A head scarf, on the other hand, is not required. Jeans (although still unpopular among Guinean women), long skirts and dresses, tank tops, and short or long sleeved shirts are all appropriate.
Although there is a Christian minority (concentrated mostly in the southern woodland area), Muslims, Christians, and others coexist together with tolerance and respect.
Guineans often ask you to dine with them at their homes. This is a respectful and kind gesture toward the guest. If at all feasible, accept the invitation. If you are unable to reply, it is preferable to gently say “next time” or “prochainement.” It is not regarded disrespectful or unfriendly to just walk up to a Guinean’s house without an appointment, as it is in the West. Don’t be surprised if Guineans come over to check how you’re doing.
Guineans are generally warm, kind, and hospitable, and will come to your aid when necessary.