Thank you for your support and prayers! Nothing would be possible without God and your support.
You’re going to a third world country, it’s just not as safe. On the other hand, extreme measures are being taken for your health and safety, which is the number one concern of our Haitian hosts and your trip leader. Follow medical instructions to the letter. Never go off on your own. Follow all instructions by your trip leader. Eat and drink only what your missionary and trip leader tells you is okay, and NO ONE ELSE. Do Not Break This Rule! Usually when something happens it is because a rule was not followed.
Figure that anything can happen. Pray about it from the depths of your soul, and be at peace with God about it. Step out IN FAITH and go WITH GOD! Remember Ephesians 3:20-21.
We will eat supper at the mission compound. Breakfast and lunch are on our own. We will buy supplies when possible in the DR. Contact your trip leader to see if you need to pack your food from the US. If so:
Don’t bring anything refrigerated. Prepackaged items are best: peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, fruit cups, etc. Just remember it gets very hot so cheese, meat, etc. will not be able to be kept cool. BRING ENOUGH FOR YOURSELF AND AT LEAST ONE OTHER PERSON! Don’t forget our Haitian partners that will be traveling and working with us. They will need to eat with us. BRING THREE MEDIUM SIZED WATER BOTTLES WITH WIDE MOUTH OPENINGS. We will be refilling our bottles, so don’t throw them away.
On American Airlines you currently can check 2 bags(one for free) at 50 pounds each. If there is no embargo, each traveler should plan to spend an extra $100 US to check a third bag of 50 pounds. Please use these three checked bags to pack all the supplies we have gathered and need to get into Haiti to distribute. Check with your trip leader to coordinate packing.
Your personal items should be packed in a carry-on and a backpack. You will feel the need to over pack. DON’T! Remember Matthew 10:10. We will have opportunities to have our laundry washed midweek.
Clothing To Bring
Summer weight dresses, skirts, and tee shirts. No spaghetti straps. You are in a culture where women traditionally wear dresses. This has shifted over the years in the cities, but in the rural areas it is still conservative. Capris are okay for travelling into and out of the country. Shorts are okay only on the mission compound. No bikini swimsuits, please. If you are doing work projects capris will be okay, and medical workers can wear scrubs. Please bring something a little nicer for church.
Jeans or khakis are great. No tank tops. Please bring something nicer for church, including a tie, collar shirt, and clean slacks. Shorts only on the mission compound. Scrubs are fine for work team or medical team.
Comfortable walking shoes that have a covered toe are required. Bring your sandals, too, but know that we will be walking through contaminated water and mud. Sandals are best only on the mission compound. Bring flip-flops to wear in the showers.
Be sure and pack two rain ponchos: one for yourself and one to share. At bedtime you will have a mosquito net, but long lightweight pajamas help keep the mosquitoes at bay. It will be hot! Bring bandanas for daily use—filtering dust and wiping sweat. A hat or visor is a must. Don’t forget your sunglasses.
Culture Shock | Coming & Going
You’ll be smelling, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and experiencing poverty and oppression as never before, and all at once, everywhere. This causes people to experience “culture shock” even after several trips. Symptoms are blank-faced mindlessness, silence, wanting to be alone, loss of energy and appetite, desperately wanting to go home, much napping, and any kind of escape. Treatment is talking about it, being with others, sharing, and taking good care of your physical, mental, and spiritual self. Take a notebook and plan to journal 15 minutes each night.
Reverse Culture Shock:
When you return home, you will experience a different outlook on life, and you may get upset, frustrated, angry, and even depressed when others don’t understand. They have not experienced what you just did. Treatment is PRAYER, understanding, compromise, love, humility, and letting time pass. Coping becomes easier, with less frequent episodes. If it continues, talk to your trip leader for further resources.
Expect the host site to be in good condition, but be prepared for anything. Electricity is in the evenings from a generator. It may come and go. No electricity most places. Showers are cold. The host site has private toilets. Our work sites have outhouses and trees. Sleeping will be interrupted by heat, obnoxious roosters, dogs, and donkeys, along with voodoo drums and discos. BRING EARPLUGS. Dorm rooms are open with bunk beds. Mosquito nets are provided, as are linens. BRING YOUR OWN TOWEL AND WASHCLOTH.
Spending money should be no bigger than 20 dollar bills. Bring $100 personal money for souvenirs, airport food, etc. Bring more if you want to pool it at the end of the week, because we have just one more need that should be met…….
Passports, Health Insurance, and Keeping Healthy:
If you don’t have your passport, start the process now. You can find more information at travel.state.gov/passport. We require all volunteers traveling to Haiti to have travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation! One company that carries these policies is Access America, and you can find them on the internet. There are many more companies if you want to look around. It usually runs $50-75 per person per trip. Finally, please go to cdc.gov/travel for the health recommendations for travel to Haiti. This site will include all the vaccines and malaria information you will want to cover. Please be prepared! Let your trip leader know if you have any health problems—it just makes it easier to keep you healthy while in the field.
AVOIDING TRAVELER’S DIARRHEA
- Use hand sanitizer before eating and drinking. Use hand sanitizer after handling money. Use hand sanitizer after….Just use it!
- Do Not drink the local water, including coffee, tea, ice cubes, or condensation on soft drinks. Only water approved by the trip leader is okay…NO ONE ELSE. NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY.
- Canned and bottled soft drinks are safe and refreshing, but always use a straw and wipe what your mouth will touch with an antiseptic wipe.
- No milk or uncooked milk-by-products.
- No salads for right now. Human waste sometimes contaminates gardens or markets, leading to rampant bacteria.
- No thin skinned fruits, such as grapes. Thick skinned fruits are okay, like bananas, if you peel them carefully.
- No raw sugar cane.
- No raw or undercooked meat, vegetables, seafood.
- As of January 2011, Haiti is still suffering from a deadly cholera outbreak. Until conditions stabilize, on the advice of our medical counselor, no raw foods. Period.
- 10. Rule of Thumb: Unless your trip leader says it’s okay, it’s not. One bite or one slip and you’ll pay, maybe for weeks, possibly ruining the whole trip or courting even worse outcomes.
- “Lock-up” It is not uncommon to experience constipation for several days in Haiti. It may be associated with medications, travel, culture shock, change in diet, routine, stress and/or change in climate. No treatment is urgent, usually. Look on the bright side…less time in the latrines!
HAITI PACKING CHECKLIST
Below are things that you will need before e embarking on your adventure to Haiti.
PASSPORT (and 2 copies of passport-one left at home with your honey, the other in a separate part of your luggage.)
- Flip-flops for shower
- Trash bag for dirty clothes
- Kleenex travel packs
- Roll of toilet paper
- Small notebook, Bible, pen
- Insect spray for body-at least 12% DEET
- Antibacterial wipes
- Hand Sanitizer—3 or 4
- Copy of your travel insurance card
- Prescription meds you take, INCLUDING MALARIA MEDS
- Tube of Neosporin and ‘after bite’ cream
- Box of rubber gloves
- Eyeglasses (contacts are not the best in Haiti—LOTS of dust and dirt)
- Package of long straws
- 3-4 water bottles
- Food for meals, if trip leader instructions
- Clothing for length of stay, including modest swimsuit
- Rain ponchos-2
- Hat or visor
- Tylenol, pepto bismol, whatever other OTC meds you may need