Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The population is over 9 million people. The unemployment rate is over 60%. There are an estimated 700,000 orphans in Haiti.
Each group will be assigned a team leader who will keep you updated and help you prepare for your trip and schedule a conference call a few weeks prior to the trip. They may also suggest more specific items for you to pack.
PASSPORT & LUGGAGE
You must have a valid passport. Please make sure that it is valid for a minimum of 7 months (from date of trip), as they will not let you leave the country or return if it expires in less than 6 months.
You may bring one personal bag (we recommend a backpack) in addition to your carry on bag onto the plane. You will keep this backpack with you at all times. This is where you’ll want to carry your snacks, bug spray, hand sanitizer, and any other personal items.
Please remember if you are carrying on any gels, liquids, etc. they must be 3.4 oz. or less and put into a quart-size zip lock bag; one quart-size zip lock bag per carry-on. When you get to the airport at the security check-in they will ask that you take out liquids for inspection.
Each person is allowed to check-in one bag weighing up to 50 pounds at no cost in addition to their carry-on. A second bag will cost. Your bag should be packed with items for the children or other suggested supplies. Your trip leader will let you know in advance if there are particular needs to meet with your check-in bag.
Once you exit the airport area, you will be struck by the busyness and congestion of Port au Prince. There will be people wanting to help carry your baggage so that they can be tipped. We will be met by some of our Haiti staff and they will take care of this. Please follow their instructions. You will have about a 3 hour drive from the international airport to Gonaives, our home base for our time in Haiti. If we arrive too late to make it to Gonaives, we will stop off at the Kaliko Beach Club about an hour north of Port au Prince and drive to Gonaives the next day.
The Paradise Village Inn in Gonaives is where we will spend most of our nights in Haiti. It is owned by a Haitian-American couple who operate the inn as a means of income to support their school, The Belle Angel School in Gonaives. Our last night will be spent at the Kaliko Beach Club.
The people of Haiti are very friendly. You will be staying at the Inn, where it is safe to walk around the complex area with other team members.
FOOD & WATER
Breakfast and dinner will be provided. You will enjoy rice and beans in different ways. Most of the meat is fried. Meat: Chicken, goat, turkey, fish. We are also served fresh fruits, bread, potatoes, plantains, scrambled eggs, spaghetti, pancakes, oatmeal and other Haitian favorites.
NOTE: We recommend you bring snacks for other times besides breakfast & dinner.
Do not drink tap water. Fill your water bottles for brushing your teeth. Carry your water bottle at all times. Bottled water will be plentiful.
IMMUNIZATIONS & MEDICATIONS
You should see a medical professional to make sure you have all appropriate immunizations and medications for this trip to Haiti. Consult your physician. For the latest and most complete information on vaccines and medications check the CDC web site. We recommend that you visit your county health department or Walgreens to get the necessary immunizations. Check to see if your health insurance covers immunizations through Walgreens.
You will need updated shots. Consult your physician. Many people include the following:
Malaria medication (ask your doctor for the appropriate prescription for malaria medications)
(February 2016) The Zika Virus has been reported in the Caribbean, including Haiti. Read the latest here. Pregnant women (in any trimester) are discouraged from travel to any of the affected areas, including Haiti.
The average temperature is 77° to 93° F in the hottest month, July, and 68° to 88° F in the coolest month, January.
Wi-Fi service is typically unavailable, so please make your own arrangements with your cellular provider if an internet connection or texting is important to you. Contact your cellular provider to see if international access is available. Otherwise, you will not have access to a phone or text messaging. If there is an emergency situation, the HOPE team can make or accept calls on your behalf. You will have an emergency phone # to give to loved ones before the trip in case you need to be reached for an emergency.
WHAT TO BRING IN YOUR CARRY ON BAG
Clothes for Men – long pants or shorts and short-sleeved shirts, Sunday church (collared shirt, tie is optional, no jeans, no need for a jacket), PJ’s (comfortable T-shirt and shorts)
Clothes for Women – short-sleeved shirts and pants. Please only wear skirts that cover the knee or capri type pants (In the Haitian culture it is offensive to wear shorts in public). Shorts may be worn around our Inn. PJ’s (comfortable T-shirt and shorts). Sunday church clothes should be a dress or long skirt & a top that covers the shoulders
Shoes– shower shoes, dress shoes, sandals and tennis shoes (The terrain can be rough so you will want sturdy walking shoes)
Toiletries – Bring your own soap, shampoo & conditioner, toothbrush & toothpaste
Jacket – light weight jacket and rain coat or poncho
$10 US cash to enter the country. As of July 2014, Haiti collects $10 from each non Haitian entering the country.
Medicines for yourself (Tylenol, Band-Aids, Benedryl, anti-diarrheal, personal meds, etc)
Bedding is provided (Bringing your own sleep sack is optional)\
Glasses/Contacts (even if usually only wear contacts bring prescription glasses)
Bug Repellent. See a study HERE on effectiveness of different repellents.
A princess style mosquito net.
Snacks such as granola bars, beef jerky, trail mix, etc. for daily lunch
Reusable water bottle
Spending Money (You may want to bring $50 -$100 spending money for Haitian souvenirs)
Camera and memory cards, batteries, and charger (electric outlets are the same as the US)