Good to know – recommendations for volunteers
As a volunteer helper, you will be making a tremendous contribution on site in Haiti. However, this sort of trip abroad has very little to do with recuperation. We’re sure you have many, many questions about the mission. We would like to answer the most pressing of these in the following.
First of all – passports. Passports are required for all nationalities. American and Canadian citizens do not
need a visa to enter Haiti; however, all other nationalities may require a visa. For detailed information please contact your embassy. There are no specific immunizations required for Haiti. Your routine immunizations should be up to date; adults should have had a diphtheria/tetanus (adult dT) booster within the past 10 years. While not mandatory, short-term employees and their families are advised to have Hepatitis A and B immunization before arriving, as well as against cholera and malaria. Bring any personal medications such as asthma or allergy medicine. Medications are available at HAS, however, specific medications which you might require may not be available. In case of uncertainty or health problems please consult a doctor.
Not only will the environment be difficult, but the chance of medical evacuation is unlikely, so you should expect to receive treatment on site if there is a serious incident. For these reasons, persons with serious health issues, persons at risk for serious injury or episodes, and people in generally poor physical condition are encouraged not to be a part of relief efforts right now.
There will be constant communication with the headquaters while you are in Haiti. Some mobile phone networks are functioning (e.g. prepaid AT&T wireless), including Blackberry data services. However, you should plan for minimal access to communication.
When packing for this mission, think ‘camping’ or ‘backpacking’ as you prepare for this trip – food, water and accomodation will be supplied. For your information, it is very hot during the day, but it can get a little chilly at night. Pack as light as possible – we ask that you only bring one bag (duffle or backpacking pack). Durable, fast-drying clothes are best. Dress code in Haiti is scrubs. We have scrubs available in Haiti in sizes Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and XX-Large. You are welcome to bring your own set of scrubs if you wish; we have a laundry service that is available every few days. Further clothing recommendations are: 4 light weight cotton shirts, underwear for 14 days, 2 pairs light weight trousers, towel(s), socks, a wide brimmed hat or a cap and a plastic rain poncho. There is a pillow there but you may prefer to have your own and if you want to leave it in Haiti that would be appreciated. Do not bring any gifts to Haiti for the patients. Your gift is the care you are providing. It is deeply appreciated and additional gifts to individuals are not necessary.
You will stay in a housing on the hospital grounds – it’s called “Kay Alumni”.
Breakfast is at 6.00 am, Lunch at 12.00 pm and Dinner at 6.00 pm. The food will consist of a lot of fresh fruit such as bananas, pineapple, mangos, melons and papaya, brown rice, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken and red meat normally cooked in some form of a stew. There will be fresh salads with lettuce, tomatoes, green and red peppers, and beetroot. Beverages include freshly squeezed fruit juice with cold water and ice.
Personal Hygiene Facilities
Running water is available in Kay Alumni for most of the day.
The clinic is inside a converted classroom which is of cinderblock construction with concrete floors, ceiling fans, florescent lighting, electricity, toilets; there is no running water, but large trash cans are filled with water daily. The clinic is complete and fully functional with separate machine room, lab, plaster room, business office, and treatment rooms with two sets of parallel bars. Machinery is four Trautmans, air compressor, cut off saw, sanding belt machine, PDQ oven, laminating table, four vacuum forming pipes and two bubble forming stands.