We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in

Mali culture photo

Photo by TREEAID

Greeting people is very important. You should get familiar with the greetings in French or, better, in Bambara. Vendors should be treated in a proper way, even when you buy just fruit or bread. It is very important to show a general interest in the other person, so ask about family, work, kids, and so on. The answer is simple: “Ça va” (It’s all right).

The interlocutor should not answer in a negative way! Example: “Bonjour. ça va?” (Good morning. Are you all right?) “Et votre famille?” (And your family?) “Et vos enfants?” (And your kids?) “Et votre travail?” (And your job?)

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Mali, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Mali food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Mali and No miss drinks in Mali.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Mali? Please comment below.