The culture and the way of life of the Brau people are of course
very different to out own. As you are a guest in their village
it is important to be aware of how to behave in an appropriate
way during you stay in the village to ensure your own comfort
and that of your hosts. Some of this is common sense but other
codes of conduct are specific to please be sure to read and
follow the following guidelines when you visit the village.
Always make sure your guide introduces you guide introduces you
to the village headman and /or commune chief when you arrive in
the village and be sure to seek permission from your home stay
family before you enter their house (remember to take your shoes
modestly, especially when bathing. Nudity is offensive.
Bathe only in
the community designated areas – ask for advice if you are not
displays of affection in the village – this is not custom in
Enjoy any rice
wine offered but please avoid becoming drunk and loud. This is
offensive and possibly frightening for your hosts.
Men should be
careful not to flirt with women in the village. Please be
respectful at all times.
the privacy of the family you are staying with. Ask for
permission to enter a room first if you are not sure.
Do not hand
out expensive gifts, money or medicine to individuals in the
village as this may encourage begging or cause jealousy. If you
wish to donate some money to the school for example make sure
that it goes to an appropriate authority figure in the village.
Your guide and provide advice.
the set prices for accommodation and porter employment in the
village. Negotiation will create uncertainty and unpleasant
relations between visitors and villagers.
food from your host family try to ensure that they have
sufficient for themselves first. Pay only a realistic price for
any food offered if this is expected – ask your guide for
advice. Remember there will be more visitors after you and the
expectations you raise will be passed on.
photographs please ask permission – your guide can help with
this. Some people may be very offended if you do not. Please do
not pay for photographs.
As tempting as
it may be please do not purchase cultural artifacts (e.g. gongs,
silver jewelry, old weavings, carvings, pipes etc) in the
village. Many people need additional income and will sell off
their heirlooms even if they are not happy to do so. These
artifacts are an important part of the community’s cultural
heritage. You can buy every day handicrafts however such as
baskets, mats, weavings, knives if offered – ask your guide for
advice on an appropriate price.
Please do not
leave the village area unaccompanied. The villagers will feel
responsible for you as you are their guest and so will worry if
you wander off on your own. You may also inadvertently enter or
violate a sacred or taboo area and be liable to appease the
offended spirits by purchasing rice wine or even an animal
people are animists and so practice a myriad of rituals and
ceremonies to communicate with the spirit world. If you are
unsure about entering a certain space or touching a certain
object or symbol always ask your community guide first (with the
help of your English speaking ranger guide) to make sure you do
not break any taboo or offend your hosts.