The estimated cost of a medical mission trip through Randolph World Ministries, Inc. is approximately $800/person for a one week trip, $1,400/person for a two week trip and about $600/person/week in Haiti for trips three weeks or longer. These estimated costs include all expenses from the time we fly from Florida to Haiti until the flight from Haiti back to the US. Since team members live all across the US, each team member is responsible for the added travel expenses of getting from their home to Florida. The only other additional expenses include a passport, immunizations, and souvenirs purchased in Haiti.
Team sizes range from 10-20 and include professionals and students of all medical disciplines (i.e. laboratory professionals, phlebotomists, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists/opticians, imaging technicians like sonographers and X-ray techs, health information managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, EMTs, etc.). We are also interested in business professionals to mentor our small business owners and construction/maintenance professionals to assist in certain construction and rehabilitation projects. In addition, others are welcome as space allows to assist in the mass screening program, eye clinic, construction, and natural disaster clean up efforts.
1. What can I expect on a typical trip?
There is no typical trip. Expect nothing and rejoice in everything. Bring a spirit of adventure and an open mind and heart. The Haitian culture is very different than the US. Please do not try to transplant western ideas, methods and ways into the Haitian culture. It won’t work. Come with questions, not answers. Once you have made enough trips to Haiti to begin to learn the Haitian culture, your ideas will become more realistic and welcomed.
2. What about money?
Calculate the amount of money you will need for food, travel, and gratuities while in the US on your way to and from Florida and add $150 per person to take to Haiti (approximately $25-$50 in small bills with plenty of one dollar bill for souvenirs). Once you are in Florida (Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, or Ft. Pierce), all hotel and transportation costs are already paid to include your flight to Haiti and ALL necessary expenses while in Haiti (except souvenirs). Haitian currency is in gourdes (pronounced Goodes) and can be exchanged if needed on most of the missionary compounds and guesthouses. Bargaining with the locals is encouraged and every souvenir vendor accepts US dollars. Starting prices for souvenirs are 2-3x higher than the lowest price they will accept. A Haitian vendor WILL NOT sell you something for less than they paid so feel free to walk away if you are being taken. Most missionary compounds allow preferred vendors to sell on the compound
3. What do I wear / bring?
Limit yourself to one suitcase and a small carryon or backpack. The large suitcase must weigh 50 pounds or less and the carry on must weigh 30 pounds or less to meet most airline standards.
Women: need to wear skirts at least knee length or below and the blouses must cover the shoulders and not low cut. If need be, you can wear shorts under your skirt. No spaghetti straps or low neck lines. No shorts or pants when outside your sleeping quarters but feel free to get comfortable when in your sleeping room. Cool fabrics like cotton and lose fitting clothes are preferred. Bring 4-5 skirts and 2 tops for each skirt. Mix and match….less is better. Swim suits must be one piece and very conservative. Bring a cover-up.
Men: need to wear long pants (Dockers) and shirts (Polo Shirts) with short sleeves. Jeans are acceptable when not at work. Walking shorts may be worn around the house and at the beach. Please bring conservative swimwear (no Speedos).
- Scrubs are encouraged when working in the clinic
- Laundry services are available on most compounds (Plan to tip $5/load).
- Tennis shoes, sandals, and flip flops are common but use closed toe shoes for working in the clinic (tennis shoes or nursing shoes).
- Leave valuable jewelry at home. I recommend leaving engagement rings at home and either wear your wedding band or purchase an inexpensive ring to wear for your wedding ring. I recommend purchasing a cheap watch. Keep earrings simple – posts are better than anything dangling. If you have multiple piercing, only wear one set.
- For team members with tattoos, please select clothing that will cover tattoos as much as possible.
- Coffee is abundant in Haiti but not guaranteed so if you have an addiction you may want to bring a small bag of instant coffee.
4. What is the weather like?
Summer Trip: Upper 90’s to low 100s with high humidity. Nights do cool off a bit but are still hot most nights. You will sweat 24/7 so don’t worry…..everyone is in the same situation and it is healthy. Rain is common so a small umbrella will be valuable. Please do not expect ANY BREAK from the heat for the entire trip.
5. Do I need a passport?
Yes. Tim will have a copy of everyone’s passport as a back- up. You may also want to have a photocopy and keep it separate from the original just in case. Keep your passport in a zipped area of your luggage that YOU DO NOT enter. Some missionary compounds have a safe to store passports.
6. What immunizations should I have?
Immunizations: Hep A, Hep B, and typhoid immunizations as well as a tetanus booster. Sometimes yellow fever immunizations and polio booster are recommended. (Check with your local healthcare provider or the CDC)
7. Are there any other medications I need to bring?
- Any prescription medications
- Chloroquine (anti-malarial drug). Generally, the first dose of a 500mg tablet should be taken one week before departing for Haiti, take one tablet on the same day each week while in Haiti, and take one tablet weekly for four weeks after you get home (follow physician instructions)
- Benadryl or anti-histamine cream – for those bug bites that we all get
- Aspirin or Tylenol
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Motion sickness pills for the airplane if needed
- the team travels with a comprehensive first-aid kit
8. What personal items should I bring?
- Sun Screen - Bring a high power sun screen, the sun is intense.
- Sun glasses and hat
- Travel size hand sanitizer (2-3)
- Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper (roosters, dog fights, & snoring roommates)
- Bug spray – Deet
- Kleenexes (travel size)& baby wipes for no toilet paper emergencies
- Other toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, a towel, etc)
- Travel alarm… Only if you need it. I use my phone.
- Razors or shavers
- Flashlight (extra batteries)
- Camera. Power cable to charge battery or extra battery.
- Backpack to downsize, carry laundry or take on a day trip
- Fanny pack to carry camera, etc.
- Disposable raincoat or Umbrella for sun and rain
- Bible and other books
- Durable Water Bottle
- Small fan (Battery operated or dual battery/electric with extra batteries)
- One small game for the evening time (cards, etc.)
- Coffee is abundant in Haiti but not guaranteed so if you have an addiction you may want to bring a small bag of instant coffee
9. What should I do with my money, passport, and green immigration reentry card?
I recommend identifying a safe zippered place in your luggage that you do not get into EVER and place your passport, green immigration reentry card and half your money there and don’t touch them, unless needed, until you depart for home. You can keep the other half of your money in a small bag, fanny pack, or the like so you can keep it on your person at all times.
10. What is the food like?
The food is great with lots of rice and beans. Some dishes are moderately hot but most are mildly seasoned. Depending on where we are staying at the time, some food you will recognize but most dishes will be local items. Three meals are served daily at approximately: Breakfast – 7:00am, Lunch – 12:00, Dinner – 6:00pm. We will be well fed in a country that is starving so please do not leave uneaten food on your plates. Take only what you will eat and eat what you take. Be adventurous, not a food snob.
11. Will I have electricity?
Power is available on all the missionary compounds but it IS NOT CONSISTENT. On most compounds the generators are on from 6:00am – 10:00pm. At other compounds the generator is turned on in the late afternoon and off in the evening. Lights out at 10:00pm – bedtime. Please honor the lights out rules at each compound. Bring a flashlight to be used after hours. Power outlets are standard and most electrical devices will work on the compound – no need for adapters. Hair dryers and curling irons will blow breakers on most missionary compounds so please leave them at home.
12. What about the water supply?
Water is NOT safe for drinking from the tap on most missionary compounds. Avoid drinking water from the tap unless instructed by your team leader. On most compounds we will drink exclusively bottled water. When in doubt ask your team leader or drink only bottled or bagged water. As a general rule, do not brush your teeth or drink from the sinks and do not open mouth in the shower unless instructed otherwise. When in doubt, ask your team leader. Some compounds will have cold showers, some will have no showers (Bath out of a bucket) Only OMS and Love a Child have warm showers.
13. Do we have laundry services?
Most missionary compounds will provide laundry services (M-F). Some compounds charge a small fee of $5/load for laundry service while the service is included in the room and board charges at other compounds but a tip ($5) at the end of the stay is expected. So don’t over pack clothing.
14. What is my obligation to partake in Randolph World Ministries?
- Devotions each morning at 6:30am (time may vary depending on location). If you would like to lead devotions, you can prepare something at home or read a passage from the Bible to share with the group. Maybe bring a special scripture reading or meditation (Leading devotions is strictly voluntary but attendance is mandatory)
- On some compounds you are obligated to participate in daily worship services at the clinic before the clinic opens (around 8:00 – 8:45am - M-F)
- Sunday morning worship at a local Haitian church is required. We will usually be accompanied by missionaries who will translate for us when present. We will often be introduced and sometimes I am asked to speak.
- On some compounds we may have missionary worship services on Wednesday evenings.
15. What do we do during our downtime?
Evening time after dinner is free time with the exception of scheduled worship services. Bring books, reading materials or small games like playing cards. Some compounds may have small games available. Don’t forget fellowship with team members and other volunteers on the compound.
16. How do I document my experience?
Take many pictures and I recommend a small notebook to journal every day.
17. What about sleeping arrangements?
Most team members will sleep in a guesthouse on a missionary compound either in a small room with 1-2 roommates or dormitory/church camp style with many roommates (4-6). Team members are separated by gender or segregated as married couples. Beds are single and somewhat comfortable. For special assignments you may be a guest in a missionary’s home or a local Haitian family where the accommodations are much more primitive than the missionary compounds.
18. What can I do for exercise?
For most Missionary compounds you are allowed to walk or run within the inside boundaries of the compound but are not approved to go beyond the compound without escorts from missionaries. If you are a female runner, please plan to run in a sweat suit.
19. Where can I find out more about Randolph World Ministries?
Randolph World Ministries, Inc. website: http://www.randolphworldministries.org/
The website has a wealth of information from past Mission Trips and pictures. More information can also be found about the country of Haiti on the web.
20. Do I have to speak the language?
No, we hire interpreters to help us in the workplace. The common language of Haiti is Creole, 80% French and 20% African dialect. Educated Haitians on the compound can speak French and some speak limited English and Spanish. The full-time missionaries speak fluent Creole. There are many ways we can communicate without speaking the same language. Smiles, hugs, and handshakes are the universal language. Also the use of gestures and body language can go far to get your point across. If the Haitian to whom you are speaking does not understand English, repeating it, saying it slower, or saying it louder WILL NOT WORK.
Here is a link to a website with a few greetings, etc in French where you can play a small video clip to hear how to say the words: http://www.bonjour.com/ It never hurts to learn the simple greetings of hello
- Bonjour = Good morning (pronounced: Bone zju)
- Bonsua = Good afternoon (pronounced Bone swa)
- Bonenuit = Good night (pronounced Bone nueet)
- Mesi = Thank you ( pronounced: mess-e)
21. What activities will I be doing through the week?
Your exact activities depend on where we are serving at the time, the length you will be serving on the team, and your particular skill set. Tim will prepare a task list for the entire team and distribute it via email a few days before departing for Haiti. For health care professionals, you may be assessing the techniques, procedures, and protocols of Haitian health care professionals who share your profession. Team members who are not health care professionals will be engaged in the eye clinic, the mass screening program, conducting inventories, or construction/maintenance activities. We work Monday through Friday from approximately 8:00am till 4:00pm. Saturday is our travel day and sometimes we may skip a meal when traveling so bring a few snacks. The remainder of Saturday is planning day for the upcoming week. Sunday is worship and rest unless more planning is needed. If we are not traveling on a given Saturday, we can often take an excursion off the missionary compound to the beach, mountains, or the Citadel (old military fort).
22. What if I get sick or injured during the trip?
Randolph World Ministries, Inc. carries health and emergency evacuation insurance on all team members. The cost is factored into your team fees. A mild gastrointestinal illness (mild nausea and diarrhea) is common for team members (about 25%). We affectionately call this “Haitian Happiness” and we do not consider it an illness and, therefore, do not recommend treatment with either antibiotics or imodium. Most team members continue to work and we believe it is best to let it run its course (usually 24 hours). We travel with a first-aid kit to treat minor injuries, minor conditions (bug bites/rashes/colds/coughs) and most infections. Other minor illnesses will be treated in one of the 26 clinics we serve. Major illnesses will require that you leave Haiti early and be treated at home by your physician. Your international health insurance purchased through Randolph World Ministries, Inc. (Brotherhood Mutual) will cover these costs. In the event of a life-threatening illness or injury, emergency evacuation will be schedule with Missionary Flights International to a Miami hospital. This, too, is covered by your international health insurance purchased through Randolph World Ministries, Inc. In our 14 years of operation we have never evacuated a team member and there has never been a serious illness contracted or reported to us. We often treat minor illnesses in Haiti and the team member remains with the team. Two times in our history a team member left Haiti early due to illness, once from a dog bite and once from a pre-existing hip ailment.
23. What are the expected costs for the trip?
The costs for the trips are divided into two categories: 1. Costs to get to Florida; 2. The remainder of costs directly related to Haiti. Each team member is responsible for securing and booking their own travel arrangements to get from their home to the meeting place in Florida. RWM usually drives a 7 passenger van with a cargo trailer in tow for those who live locally or live near our route to Florida. This option saves money getting to Florida. RWM will book hotel rooms in Florida both ways, airline tickets to and from Haiti, and all accommodations while in Haiti. RWM will bill each team member their portion of the trip costs booked by RWM. Total costs for the portion of the trip booked by RWM can vary but will be approximately $1,200 for one week; $1,500 for 2 weeks. $1,800 for 3 weeks and $2,100 for 4 weeks.
Randolph World Ministries, Inc. offers medical mission ministry opportunities to anyone who feels called to participate. Expertise and/or experience in a branch of medicine is not necessary but highly valued. We can find ministry opportunities for individuals with any skill set. However, individuals with a variety of medical degrees are encouraged to participate to include but not limited to physicians, laboratory professionals, physician assistants, phleobtomists, therapists (OT and PT), nurses, X-ray techs, sonographers, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, health information managers, dieteticians, EMTs, etc. If more individuals apply for a slot on a team than can be accommodated in a given year, priority will be given to those with a medical background and experience in foreign medical missions.
To be considered as a team member, simply contact Tim using the contact information provided. Completion of an application is required which includes a picture, verification that immunizations have been obtained, a passport number, and a spiritual testimonial.