If you feel inspired to make a trip to a maroon village in Suriname, which I highly recommend, there are some basic concepts you need to understand in order make your visit as memorable as possible.
Even though maroons live in the New World, you are basically dealing with an old culture, where the customs and signs of respect are different than you may be used to.
Always remember you are in their domain. This is their “house”, the entire village. These huts are not homes as we know them. There are huts that are used for cooking, some for gathering, some for storage, some for sleeping.
The first thing to do is find out who is the highest authority figure of the village (I learned this from my father), it could be, in this order, a gaanmang(gahng mahng), kapitein(kah pee teyn) or basja(bah shah) or one or more village elders. It is a show of respect to greet the highest authority figure of the village personally and present a gift to them. It doesn’t have to too extravagant, but also not too cheap or insulting.
Find out from your guide what a customary gift would be and present it to him always showing proper deference & respect. Remember you are in his domain!
Second always ask permission to take photos or videos.
Basically ask permission for anything you would as if you were in someone else’s home.
To many outsiders the village may not look like much, but these are proud people, and rightfully so. One thing you want to pay careful attention to is burial shrines. It is a big no no to defile these. Again ask questions.
If you want to go the extra mile, treat the kids to some candy but don’t be cheap. You are likely not the first to bring candy. Happy kids, happy mom happy stay.
If you are traveling in a group you can bring one gift as a group.