Q: How should I prepare spiritually?
A: Be in prayer yourself and invite others to be prayer partners with you. Surrender this trip to God asking that you not inhibit His work in anyway. Remember, it is our privilege that God wants to use us in His work. Pray that you would have the eyes to see the Haitian people the way God sees them. Make sure you are allowing God to remove the tendencies to be judgmental, selfish, and critical. Ask God to give you an attitude of flexibility and a servant’s heart. Be an encouragement to your team members, the Children’s Hope staff, and the Haitian people.
Q: How much does it cost for each team member?
A: In 2017 the cost per each team member is $825 plus airfare. The airfare fluctuates from trip to trip so it is impossible to give an exact amount. The $825 includes, lodging, two meals per day (breakfast and dinner), local transportation, translators, and travel insurance. (If travel insurance has already been purchased and a team member has to cancel the trip, the insurance cost can not be refunded). Trips typically run from Saturday to Friday. It is recommended to bring an extra $70 – $100 in spending money to purchase airport meals and souvenirs. It is best to bring small bills like $1 or $5.
Q: What is the food like?
A: Breakfast will usually consist of muffins (see packing list), grits, eggs, fruit and coffee. Lunch is on your own, so bring power bars, peanut butter crackers, or other snacks. For dinner, rice and beans will be served along with chicken or beef or a pasta like casserole.
Q: What kind of work can be done on a mission trip?
A: Depending on the make up of a team, there are opportunities for medical work, dental work, evangelism, Bible studies, Vacation Bible School, sports clinics, construction, etc.
Q: Who can go on a team?
A: Professing Christians who are active members of a local church who share our basic beliefs and doctrines. We will CONSIDER children who are ten years old with an accompanying parent, but keep in mind what the team will be doing when in country. For instance, it might be inappropriate for a ten year old girl to be part of a male construction team. A minor must be at least fifteen years old in order to be considered to go without a parent.
Q: What documents are needed to travel on the team?
A: You will need a valid U.S. passport with 6 months left before the expiration date from the team’s date of return. A Visa is not required at this time to travel to Haiti.
Q: What language is spoken in Haiti?
A: Haitian Creole is spoken by the majority of Haitians. French is taught in schools. To learn Haitian Creole phrases, see www.byki.com.
Q: What type clothing is needed?
A: Men: Pants and shirts. We recommend pants made from fast drying and breathable material instead of jeans. Jeans will be very hot but are fine if you prefer them. (Haitians wear jeans daily.) If you are doing construction work, bring some strong gloves and possibly boots. Shorts can be worn at the mission house.
Women: Pants, long skirts or capris. Sleeveless shirts are fine but no spaghetti straps. Remember to combine cool, comfort and modest! Long shorts can be worn at the mission house.
Church: Skirt or dress for women at least to the knees. It is also requested that ladies do not wear sleeveless tops, jewelry or makeup to church. For men, khaki like pants with button down shirts are best.
Q: What to wear on the trip to and from Jacmel?
A: The team can choose what to wear when traveling. We will be happy to give you a navy Children’s Hope t-shirt if you are interested. This t-shirt allows our partners on the ground to easily identify the team.
Q: What vaccinations are needed to go on a team?
A: The following are strongly recommended but not required.
- DPT – Tetanus/diptheria update (if over 5 years rather than the regular 10 due to increased risk)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Typhoid (oral or injection)
- Oral malaria prophylaxis
For the latest info on recommendations and/or requirements, go to www.cdc.gov. Vaccinations can be given at your local health department, possibly family physician, or if in Montgomery at the School of Nursing at Auburn University Montgomery (AUM).
Q: Is traveling to Haiti safe?
A: Long-distance travel anywhere, especially to a third world country, presents certain risks for accidents and illness. However, since August 2010 we have had no problems with team members being victims of crime or accidents, and we are so grateful for God’s protection! There are armed guards present at the mission house at all times, and we take other common sense precautions. Jacmel is a relatively safe community. We continually assess domestic safety and will keep teams posted if there is a threat.
Q: Is the water in Haiti safe to drink?
At our Mission House, our water is safe for consumption. Bringing your own water bottle to fill up with cold water from our water cooler and take with you during the day is an excellent idea.
You will be able to purchase soft drinks and juice from the mission house for $1.00 each.
We strongly recommend that you do not drink water that is not on our property. Haitian water is not filtered like ours and can make someone ill.
Q: Can students currently in medical school, nursing or pharmacy treat patients?
A: No. However, they can work along side professionals who have a current license. Team leaders may ask to see a copy of a professional’s current license.
Q: What airlines are used for travel?
A: American Airline is most commonly used. Most teams will depart from either the Birmingham or Atlanta airport and have a short layover in Miami. Occasionally, a team may need to stay overnight in Miami. Delta Airlines will be used occasionally. They offer a non-stop flight from Atlanta to Port Au Prince on limited schedules. Please know that once an airline ticket is purchased, it is not refundable. You can usually use this ticket later but the airline charges a change fee of $150 or more.
Haiti often has a ban on baggage over 50 pounds and large plastic totes/containers. So, it is important to check with the airline carrier. CH staff uses duffle bags under 50 pounds to avoid a problem. Also, if you check bags, please keep your receipts. You will be asked for them at the Port-au-Prince airport. If you don’t have them, it could be a hassle.
Q: What happens if I get sick while on the trip?
A: If a team member gets sick or has an accident, immediate medical care will be sought in Jacmel at our clinic by Dr. Patrice. However, the level of care and equipment is limited. In case of an extreme medical emergency, you may be evacuated by medical jet to the nearest U.S. hospital.
The cost of the medical insurance is included in the cost of the trip. The coverage is purchased for every team member and this covers medical emergencies.
Q: How much spending money will I need and can I use U.S. currency?
A: We estimate anywhere from $70 to $100 per person should be adequate. This is to purchase airport meals or snacks and souvenirs while in Jacmel. This should be in the form of small bills ($1 and $5 bills) to use while in Haiti. Haitian currency is Goudes, but U.S. dollars are accepted.
However, when you get change back, it will probably be in Goudes which is big reason to only bring small bills. Please do not give Haitian translators, house staff, drivers or children any cash money or possessions. They are being provided for adequately.
It is recommended that while in Miami airport that you purchase a sandwich and water for lunch later that day. This will be your last place to purchase food or water before arriving at the Alabama House.
Q: Is it okay to wear jewelry?
A: It is not wise or prudent to wear any jewelry except an inexpensive watch and/or wedding band.
Q: Can I make phone calls or have access to internet?
A: You will have internet access at the mission house and may have phone coverage, but we strongly suggest that you check with your carrier’s international calling/texting/data plan before leaving on the trip. We do ask team members to use the internet sparingly as it can be very slow when numerous team members are using it. It is required for one team member to carry a phone that has a global plan in case of an emergency. This number should be communicated with CH staff.
Q: What type of electrical outlets are in Haiti?
A: The same as in the U.S. so you will not need to bring converters.
Q: What are the accommodations like?
A: Team members sleep in bunk beds and are separated according to gender. Each bunk room can sleep six people. These six share a private bathroom.
Bunk rooms are air conditioned, but please know that there is always the possibility of having electrical problems.
Q: What should I pack?
A: Please see Suggested Packing List under Forms. For personal use, pack lightly in a carry-on bag if possible. Use checked baggage for supplies that you will use on the trip. Children’s Hope may also ask you to transport supplies with your mission team since we cannot ship to Jacmel. We have washer and dryers at the mission house that team members may use. (Please bring detergent pods for this.) Towels and linens are provided at the mission house.
Q: What should we expect when we land in Port au Prince (PAP)?
A: Once you leave the airplane, you will walk down a long corridor and then to the Immigration. The first counter will ask for $10 bill as a Tourist fee. Then you will go through Passport Control. At this Immigration/Customs desk, you will be given a green card from the form you completed on the plane (see Forms) – keep this card and place it inside your passport. You will need this green card upon departure from Haiti. After this you will proceed downstairs to Baggage Claim. You will need the tag you received when you originally checked in the American airline. You may use restroom facilities by baggage claim as this will be your last chance until the mission house). .
A designated Haitian (probably will be Nader) will meet you at the airport (your team leader will be given his name prior to departure) and help you navigate your way out of the airport. Nader typically is at Baggage Claim waiting on you. He should have a sign with Children’s Hope on it. Outside of the airport, there are men who are called Red Caps that will insist on helping you with your luggage (this may include just placing their hand on top of it and expecting a tip). You should not use them. Nader will direct you with your bags and inform you who at the van/bus can load your bags. He will also let you know who to tip and how much once you arrive at the bus. (Usually this is $3 per person that Nader directs.) The team leader should be responsible for any tips as directed by the Haitian Assistant.
From the airport, the Haitian Assistant will transport you over the mountains to Jacmel. This trip usually takes 3½ hours but could be longer based on traffic conditions. The other option is MAF, which is an in-country flight service of Christian American pilots. There is a higher fee for MAF. Please contact CH is you are interested in MAF.
Q: What Can I Expect on the Return Trip from PAP?
A: The team will be transported to the PAP airport. If you are approached by someone just outside of the airport asking for your passport with the claim that he can get you through security quickly, do not give it to him! You will proceed directly to the airline counter to receive a boarding pass and check any bags you may have. Then you will proceed to the first security check (There will be a total of three.), Then you go through Immigration. This is where you will need to turn in the green card. Then you will go through the second (2nd) security check and then head upstairs if flying on American Airlines. You will go through the last (3rd) security check. There will be a nice waiting area, restrooms and food can be purchased as well.
If you go through Miami and have checked bags, you will need to head to baggage claim and then recheck it with the airline. You go through Customs and Immigration and you will also have to go back through security again. Then you will be able to proceed to your next gate in order to go home and share your story of how you saw God at work!