a. Travel Arrangements
Travel arrangements will be made as a group to accommodate entrance into Haiti and ensure coordination of travel to les Cayes. All travel arrangements will be made by the team leader with the possible exception of travel to domestic airports.
We will stay at the “Mercy House”, the Beaucejour residence and guesthouse. The second floor of the residence is for team use with dormitory-style bedrooms with bunk beds. There are two bathrooms, running water and flush toilets.
Each member will bring 1 personal bag (50lb) 1 carry-on (40 lbs.), 1 personal item (backpack or purse) and 1 bag (50 lbs.) with team supplies or donations. NO LIQUIDS OR SHARP OBJECTS IN CARRY-ON BAG, put them only in your checked bag.
d. Health Precautions
- Tetanus: up to date if given in the past 8 – 10 years
- Hepatitis A: one injection and then can be boosted in 6 months to give lifetime immunity
- Typhoid: comes in tablet form which is protective for 5 years, or injection which is protective for 3 years
- MMR: usually completed in childhood but double check; if born before 1960, you have most likely had the diseases
Malaria: prevention is usually with Chloroquine 500mg tablet; take one tablet the week before departure, one each week that you are in Haiti, and once a week for 4 weeks upon return. However, whatever medication your MD/PCP prescribes will work as there are many variations.
Traveler’s Diarrhea: it is best to bring a prescription filled for Ciprofloxacin 500mg, one tablet every 12 hours for three days, 6 tablets; a box of over the counter Imodium and Pepto Bismol. If you develop diarrhea while on the mission trip, speak to the medical team leader as to how to treat. See your healthcare provider if you are less than 18 years old for other antibiotic options. Metronidazole 500mg twice a day is used if dysentery is the problem, but is usually carried by the medical team.
Your personal medications: Bring enough for the duration of the trip; carry in original containers; place in your carry-on luggage. Be sure all information about your medical situation is on your application. Discuss any concerns with the medical team leader. Reminder: some medications make you sensitive to the sun so check with your pharmacist.
Over the counter medication: Bring whatever items you think you might use; Tylenol or ibuprofen are always a good idea to bring. Also consider bringing packages of powdered rehydration drinks, such as Gatorade. It is very hot in Haiti and you will sweat out a lot of water. Consult your healthcare provider or local travel clinic if you have other questions. Other “medicinal” things to bring: Ear plugs (many dogs and roosters); Bug repellent spray/wipes/wristbands; mosquito bed netting, usually for a twin size; hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol; SUNSCREEN.
Keeping well hydrated is necessary to feeling well. Drink plenty of purified or bottled water and avoid ice unless it comes from the mission house. Limit soda as tends to make you thirstier. Powdered rehydration drinks are easy to carry. Bring your own water bottle with a covered mouthpiece.
REMEMBER: If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated. Use ONLY bottled/purified water when brushing your teeth. You may want to bring an extra toothbrush in case you forgot.
Eat ONLY food prepared in the mission house, our children’s homes where it is served by the parents or approved restaurants. Use hand sanitizer before you eat. Use utensils whenever possible. Bring individually packed snacks, such as fiber/granola bars, dried fruits or nuts; crackers and peanut butter. Blessedly, the food is great on these trips and eat fruit as often as it is served.
Apply sunscreen before you go out into the field and reapply often. Bring a hat and neck scarf (for sweat); keep shoulders covered.
Working in the Mission Field:
We want you to feel your best and be safe out in the field. ALWAYS wear closed toe shoes! Foot coverage is best at the beach, too. Wear hats and gloves as needed. If working with cement, please wear goggles to protect your eyes. Glasses are better than contacts out in the field as there is a great deal of dust and smoke in the air.
PACE YOURSELF: take breaks and sit in the shade, drink often. Do not wander off from the team. If you are not feeling well, let the leader know.
Please wash hands often–it is your first line protection against illness. Use a 60% alcohol hand sanitizer even more often!! And as simple as it sounds, keep your hands out of your mouth.
Traveler’s diarrhea, and other illnesses can start after you have returned home. If feeling poorly, seek medical care. Be sure to finish your chloroquine or other malaria medication.
Women and men should dress modestly since immodest dress or behavior will certainly attract undesirable attention. Your personal appearance reflects your respect for the culture of the people with whom you will be working.
Light, loose-fitting cotton clothing is recommended. At church, women are asked to wear dresses or skirts that cover their knees and shoulders; men are asked to wear slacks and a button up shirt, short sleeves are fine. Sturdy shoes and water tolerant, thick-soled sandals are recommended. Women are asked to refrain from spaghetti strap tops and short shorts; men are expected to wear shirts. You can relax as you wish at the guesthouse.
Beachwear should also be modest, no bikinis please, one piece or tankini-style bathing suits only.
It is best to leave most of your jewelry at home. Be modest, wedding bands, a simple necklace, and stud-type earrings.
You may wish to pack your favorite snack food to have in Haiti. If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may want to consider packing spares. Hats and sunglasses are recommended. Work crews/construction teams are required to have work gloves and sturdy shoes.