Visitors are warmly welcomed to Hatobuilico. As you walk the streets, you will be greeted with Bondia (good morning), Botardi (good afternoon) and Bonoite (good evening). Local people will be very happy to talk with you and to make sure that your visit to their town is a good one.
However, so that you are comfortable and you make the least possible cultural disturbance, you might consider some of these points.
• Observe people’s privacy and need to conduct their daily business before interrupting them at their work. You will see that people stop working to greet you and please greet them back. Men are addressed as “senhor” and women as “senhora” in Hatobuilico. You may be invited into people’s yards or even homes but it is more likely that a friendly greeting is just that.
• Don’t rubbish Hatobuilico! Take your rubbish back out with you.
• Use a guide when walking out of the town itself. This contributes to the local economy and keeps you safe as well as ensuring that you get the best possible experience.
• Be respectful when taking photos of people. Generally tourists (malae) do not get subjected to people taking their photos willy-nilly and it is good to be equally considerate of the local community who get photographed often. You can ask if someone is willing to have their photo taken (“hau bele lori foto”) and a positive answer will be “bele”, a negative will be “la bele”.
You might also show the person their photo afterwards. Children may ask you to take their photo. It’s up to you!
• A child asking for money (osan) or biscuits or cake (dosi) is less and less common in Hatobuilico. While the community is clearly very poor and the children may even be hungry be judicious about what you give.
Generally begging reduces community resilience in the longer term and is counter-productive to respect. You can form your own view about this!