Frequently Asked Questions
There's always lots of questions that need answering before coming on a trip. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
Q: What are the costs associated with coming to Haiti?
In-country costs are broken down as follows:
Included with your stay:
Total including roundtrip to airport and rountrip on the boat = $580
Translators (if needed):
- $20/day per person
Please note that we do not have funds available for supplies for teams during their stay. If you would like to complete a project, you will need to bring the funds to purchase supplies. You can browse the list of potential projects and send an email with any questions or to commit to a project. Some funds may need to be sent ahead of time in order to have supplies ready when teams arrive.
Starting July 1, 2014, vistors with a foreign passport will be required to pay a tourist fee of $10 USD, 10 EUR, or 10 CAD. Children under 5 years old are not required to pay the fee. Each team member should have this in cash as you exit the plane and enter immigration.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
We recommend that every team enroll with this program of the US State Department. In the event of any strikes affecting the airport or transportation, your team will be directly notified. Please note that they send out notices regarding demonstrations often (sometimes twice a week) and most are peaceful. If there are any safety concerns regarding your team, we will contact the team leader to make arrangements.
Q: What immunizations/medications should I have and bring with me?
The following (as well as several others) are listed on the CDC website as recommended vaccines for Haiti:
- Hepitatis A and B
While none of these vaccines are required, we highly recommend an updated tetanus shot and anti-malaria medicine for travel to Haiti. You should also bring a filled prescription of Cipro in the event that you get sick. Please consult with your doctor about vaccines and prescriptions. Remember to bring any medications you take on a regular basis and any nausea or diarrhea medicines you prefer.
If you have not heard about the recent spread of the Chikungunya virus, you can read more about it here. Most healthy people will feel better after 1 week. Those most at risk for prolonged side effects include travelers with arthritis, over 65, late in their pregnancy, or severe medical conditions.
Q: Is there a dress code while we are in Haiti?
For a long time Haiti has been quite conservative in dress. While that is starting to change, we realize that we, the missionaries, and you, the visiting teams, are here at the request of the Wesleyan Church of Haiti. The Wesleyan Church of Haiti requests that men and women respect the Haitian culture and church with regards to dress.
Men: Shorts to the knee and t-shirts are fine when working on or off the compound; jeans/khakis are also fine when working or out in the community. Khakis, a button up shirt and shoes are required for church. Pastors should also expect to wear a tie.
Women: Skirts to the knee and t-shirts are considered appropriate wear for around the guesthouse and out in the community. Modest bathing suits (one-piece or tankini) are appropriate and are recommend to be worn with shorts. Women on medical teams may also wear scrubs at the hospital and around the island.
Q: What is the electrical and water situation?
Since October 2013, electricity on La Gonave is 100% solar powered.
At the Ortlip Center, electricity is provided through a diesel generator, an inverter and (very occasionally) city power. The diesel generator runs for a few hours at night to charge the inverter, which, if electricity is conserved following the generator being turn off, should provide fan throughout the night.
At Kay Eli, the situation is much like that of Ortlip. A generator is run to change the inverter, which should provide fans throughout the night.
Electrical outlets are identical to those in North America.
In regards to water, please try to conserve at much water as possible when you are at any of our three guesthouses.
Q: What kinds of food can we expect?
At all of our guesthouses you will find a good mix of Haitian and American food. The most popular Haitian meal is rice and beans, usually served with chicken or a beef sauce and fried plantains. American food varies from chicken soup to pizza to spaghetti and salad.
We are not able to cater to individuals with specific food allergies.
Q: What should we bring/how should we pack?
If you've never been to Haiti before, please check out this packing list to be the most prepared for your time in Haiti.
Q: Will we have access to internet?
Yes. Kay Eli, Ortlip and La Gonave all provide Wi-Fi for visiting teams.
Q: What is the climate like aka how hot does it really get?
In the winter months, December thru March, temperatures usually hover around 27 C (81 F). In the summer months the temperature will likely be in the 30s C (90s F). There are two dry seasons (December to February and June to August). Late summer to mid autumn brings with it the hurricane season.
Q: What is the currency that is used?
The Haitian currency is called a Gourde. The exchange rate stays between 40 and 43 gourdes to $1 US. US dollars are also accepted and exchanged everywhere. Please no ripped bills, as Haitians will turn them down.
Q: Will we have an opportunity to buy souvenirs?
Yes. Local vendors come to the Wesleyan compound on La Gonave every Thursday to sell to visiting teams. Vendors are able to come to the Ortlip Center if a team expresses interest in buying. Many visitors spend between $20 and $50 on souvenirs.
A local vendor can come to Ortlip by request of the team.
Q: Can we share our emails and phone numbers with locals?
It's up to you. You can share your email and phone number or add them to Facebook if you are ready and willing to have them ask you for certain things. The Haitian culture is an asking culture, so they will ask if given the opportunity.
Q: Are we allowed to give things away?
No. While the generosity of visitors is appreciated, distribution of donated items is a very difficult and sometimes dangerous activity, best done through the systems of our partner organizations (local churches, hospital, community ministries). If guests have items to donate please leave them with the missionaries, who will in turn make sure they get to the appropriate places.