Haitian Christian Mission • P.O. Box 880808 • Boca Raton, FL 33488
www.haitianchristianmission.org • 844-426-1974 • email@example.com
We are so thrilled that you are making preparations to come work with us at Haitian Christian Mission. Many exciting things are happening around here and it will be great to have you be a part of it. As you plan and pack, we are preparing for your visit as well. We want you to have a great trip so please take the time to read this whole handbook carefully. It should answer many of the questions you may have.
If you have further questions, please direct them to your team leader. We would also encourage you to take a look at the mission's website www.haitianchristianmission.org.
As I'm sure you expect, life in Haiti is very different from what we are used to in the United States. Be ready to be flexible. In the U.S, we are very driven by time and strive to do all tasks quickly. This is not usually the case in Haiti. Be prepared to be patient and wait for instructions, supplies, people and the Lord's guidance. Through it all, wear a smile and enjoy the experience.
The last three pages in this handbook are forms that need to be completed and returned to your team leader.
Meet Some of Our People
Chief Executive Officer
Vice President of Haiti Operations
Haiti Sponsorship Director
Haiti Finance Director
Play It Forward Director
Chief Development Officer
USA Finance Director
USA Sponsorship Directors
Executive Assistant/Trips Coordinator
Board of Directors
As the founder of Haitian Christian Mission, I sometimes find it hard to believe how this ministry has grown. What started as a small Bible study on our front porch in 1974 is now a multifaceted mission organization serving thousands in Haiti every year. And year after year, we place our hope in Jesus who works through so many Christians to bless this ministry.
This mission has been in existence for 40 years with the sole purpose of saving souls for the Kingdom of Christ. This has always been the focus of this mission whether we are involved in education, medical care, nutrition centers or the sponsorship program. God has empowered it to accomplish a marvelous work over the years. It is through the efforts of nationals, expatriates and supporters that this work has been done.
We want to thank all those who invest their lives, money and energy to bring about these results. But our thanks are limited. The real words of thanks will come to them from the Lord when they enter the pearly gates and see the Lord who will say to them with outstretched arms:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world."
--Dr. Etienne Prophete, founder of Haitian Christian Mission
Haitian Christian Mission's 40th anniversary is a year of victory from where it has come from, but we can anticipate the hardship it may go through the in months and years ahead. Therefore we should not relax and think we have made it. It is a time to concentrate on prayers and giving to pull it through the economic slump to another level of victory. We need to remember that victory belongs to the Lord. It is not our battle. It is God's. We need your energy and expertise to continue God’s work in Haiti. Together we will build better communities.
--Edwens K. Prophete, CEO
Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola between the Caribbean Sea and the north Atlantic Ocean, sharing a border with the Dominican Republic. It occupies an area just slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. The terrain is mostly rough and mountainous. Extensive deforestation has led to large-scale soil erosion.
Having a tropical climate, Haiti is hot and humid most of the year. In areas where the mountains cut off the trade winds, however, it can be dry and desert-like.
About 9 million people live in Haiti, 3 million of which live in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The average life expectancy is 61 years. Two out of every three Haitians is under the age of thirty.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with 80% of its population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. More than two-thirds of the population do not have formal jobs. The basic unit of currency is the gourde. Five gourdes make one Haitian dollar. The current exchange is about 60 gourdes to one American dollar, but it fluctuates quite a bit, ranging from 45 to 62.
Primarily Haitian Creole, some French
Roughly 50% percent of Haitians are Roman Catholic while 40% of those also practice voodoo. Approximately 42% are Protestant with 10% of those also practicing voodoo.
In the 1700s, Haiti was one the wealthiest French colonies in the Caribbean. Black African slaves were imported by the thousands to work on the sugar, tobacco and coffee plantations. In the late 18th century, however, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'Ouverture. In 1804, after a long and violent struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence. Afterwards though, the people could not revive the economy and the result was a collection of small subsistence farms that still exist today.
Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. The Haitian people endured a series of U.S. occupations and then a period of rule by brutal dictators. Currently, there is a democratically elected president and parliament as well as a United Nations presence.
Medical Teams Only
*Keep in mind that the Transportation Security Administration (www.tsa.gov) allows you to carry up to three-ounce size containers of liquids, creams and gels that fit in ONE quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag through security checkpoints. Larger size containers, as well as any aerosol cans, should be placed in a large zip-top bag in your checked luggage.
****Following these guidelines is important not only for the mission's reputation, but also because it impacts how the local people will perceive you****
Check your airline's website to see what their baggage rules and allowances are. Duffel bags are acceptable as checked luggage, but cardboard boxes cannot be used. All bottles of shampoo and other liquids should be placed in zip-top bags in case of leakage, only one in your carry-on, others in checked luggage.
Normally, team members try to fit most of their personal items in their carry-ons and leave the checked luggage space for medical supplies and donations.
On the plane you will be given an immigration form. For "Reason for Visit" mark "Pleasure, Recreation". For the address you will be staying, write "Haitian Christian Mission, Fonds-Parisien." Leave blank the claim area of the form.
Upon entering the airport, stand in the lines for immigration with your passport and immigration form ready to be stamped. There is currently a $10 fee everyone must pay upon entering Haiti. Be sure to bring a crisp, clean $10 bill to pay this fee. Next, move on to the baggage claim area and get a baggage cart if needed (costs $2), collect your luggage and, after receiving a go-ahead from your leader, proceed to the customs line with claim tickets in hand. They will give you back the bottom part of the immigration form, place that inside your passport as you will need that upon leaving the country.
When going through the customs line with your baggage, do not offer any information. When your bag has been checked by a customs officer, close the bag up and put it back on your cart. There will be a lot of men in the baggage area and outside trying to help with your bags. Please do not accept their help. They are very insistent, but a smile and firm no thank you is all you need. If you accept their help, they will expect a tip.
Keep your eyes on all of your personal belongings at all times. Never leave any of your bags unattended. Mission staff will be waiting for you outside the airport and will drive you to the mission compound in Fonds-Parisien. The drive to the mission compound is about one hour depending on traffic.
No immunizations or medications are required by the country of Haiti, the U.S. government or Haitian Christian Mission, but the Center of Disease Control does have the following recommendations for Americans travelling to Haiti.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Typhoid Vaccine (injection or oral)
Medication for malaria prevention (usually Chloroquine)
Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes. Applying insect repellant to both skin and clothing can reduce the risk of acquiring malaria. The most effective repellents are those containing DEET. Chloroquine should be obtained through your family physician. The usual adult dosage is 500mg. once a week and should be taken on the same day each week, seven (7) days apart. The medicine should be started one (1) week prior to departing for Haiti and should be continued for four (4) weeks after returning home.
The most common cause of TD is usually a bacterial infection with E. coli. In general, the CDC does not recommend taking antibiotics to prevent TD, but Pepto-Bismol tablets, two (2) tablets four (4) times a day, can be taken to help prevent it.
Because most U.S. health care insurance plans do not cover medical care or emergencies outside the United States, it is highly recommended that you obtain travel insurance. We suggest you add travel insurance through your airline when you purchase your plane ticket. That provides you with lots of coverage.
We used to recommend the following insurance from Gallagher Charitable International Insurance Services, but it is not necessary if you purchase insurance through the airline. The rate through Gallagher is $3.30 per day.
Online enrollment instructions
** Go to www.aaintl.com
** Click on Volunteer Enrollments
** Username: haitiancm
** Click on International Volunteer Program
** From here, you can click on Travel Insurance Enrollment to get to the online enrollment form, or one of the links below it to see a summary of coverage or the services provided by Specialty Assist (SAS).
** Complete the form
(No Project/Job Number is needed.)
** Preview information
** Send to AA&I
You will then receive your confirmation of coverage with an enrollment number. Please call them with any questions. 1-800-922-8438
The mission compound is located in Fonds-Parisien, about an hour from the airport. Within the walls of the compound are a church, school, medical clinic, OB/GYN center, woodworking shop, peanut butter factory, youth center, and mission/staff housing,
Everyone is asked to attend the local church service on Sundays. There are smaller Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services in Fonds-Parisien that you are welcome to attend.
Water and Electricity
Running water and electricity are both precious commodities in Haiti, so you should be careful to use both sparingly. Showers should be kept short and blow dryers, curling irons, etc. should not be used. You should NEVER drink, or even brush your teeth, with the tap water. Bottled water will be provided for you. There is no hot water in the showers.
Teams stay in the Plunkett House above the clinic. No men should be in women's rooms, or women in men's rooms. Due to accommodating all of our teams, married persons are asked to room with their respective gender.
Do your best to keep all areas clean. Be sure to keep all snacks in airtight containers or packaging so as not to attract unwanted visitors (ants, etc.).
****Be sure to carefully follow the Code of Conduct. Quiet time in rooms begins by 10:00 PM. Please be mindful many of our staff are living on our campus and work long hours.
Health and Safety
Keep your valuables (cameras, phones, medical instruments, etc.) very close by or locked up. Do not show money around Haitians.
Do not walk barefoot. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer often. Drink plenty of
water. Eat only the food provided for you by the mission.
Never leave the mission compound without permission from your team leader and an approved escort. Do not attempt to exchange money for Haitian currency. It could be counterfeit or cause a robbery.
Please do not invite children into the house to eat or play. This is for your safety and out of respect to the staff that have belongings there. If someone is hungry, ask your host and they will facilitate help. Please go out and play with the children as much as you wish. They love it!
Donations and Charity
HCM has an inventory control manager and it would really help if your team created a list of all donations bring brought in, medical and non-medical alike, prior to coming. All donations are to be placed in the dining area upon arrival so they can be sorted through and put in the right places.
It is strongly advised that you do not give money, food, clothing, toys, etc. away without it first being discussed with someone from the HCM staff. It is important to us that we are empowering our local pastors and staff to be the touch point for items given. Although we like to be a part of the direct giving, it has proven to be better received from our Haitian ministers and staff. It is very possible that people will ask you to give them things. Make no promises to give or send them anything, because they will be counting on that more than you could imagine. Be aware that if you give your address or e-mail address to a Haitian, they will often see you as a benefactor and later ask you for financial support. It is often best to politely refuse. Do not give anyone your phone number.
While cell phone use and email are common in Haiti, the technology is not as reliable as in the U.S. There is no phone for visitors to use at the mission compound, only personal cell phones, and you should not ask to use them. Your own personal cell phone will probably not work in Haiti. We advise you to tell your loved ones they will not be able to talk with you on the phone while you are in Haiti. If your group wishes though, you can bring a cell phone with an international plan set up on it for the team to use. Be sure to put your cell phone on airplane mode on the plane and leave it that way the whole time you are in Haiti or you may be charged large roaming fees.
If there is an emergency back home, your family/friends may try contacting you through the phone numbers listed below. Calls to these numbers should be made only in emergency situations. If there is an emergency situation in Haiti, every effort will be made to reach the emergency contact person listed on your trip application.
Edwens Prophete 011 (509) 3676-9775
Betty Prophete 011 (509) 3845-2540
Jonas Dorlus 011 (509) 4705-0801
Angie Schuber 011 (509) 4770-3164 US: 1(417) 291-2266
1. Christian conduct is expected - willing to give and take, to maintain the spirit of unity and harmony in the group, and to extend politeness and courtesy to those with whom we come in contact (missionaries, nationals, team leaders, and team members). A positive attitude is expected. Show mutual respect.
2. Regardless of your personal religious belief, you will be expected to support the mission's stance in being completely Christ-centered.
3. Attendance at the Sunday morning church service is expected.
4. All trip participants are required to follow the trip schedule and participate in all group functions and team meetings. Permission to deviate from the scheduled activities must be obtained from the trip leader.
5. Always be on time for the meals and other activities.
6. You will be expected to adapt to the host culture. This may mean eating food you are unfamiliar with or participating in foreign customs.
7. No smoking or tobacco of any form, illegal drugs, or alcohol is permitted. No foul language. Avoid harassing behaviors.
8. Do not give gifts of any kind (i.e. money, toys, clothes, etc.) to nationals without consulting the HCM leadership. Leadership on campus includes Betty, Edwens, Lovely, Dorlus, and Angie. **See Distribution Policy **
9. Do not give your telephone number to anyone and be cautious when giving your address or email address.
10. Do not work alone. Have at least one person with you at all times when you are out, even those who have been to campus several times. This is for the protection of your team and our staff.
11. Separation from the group is not allowed without prior approval by the team leader. Always let the team leader or host missionary know your whereabouts. NEVER wander off or go exploring by yourself.
12. Pairing off is not permitted, as it tends to distract from the real purpose of the trip. Due to cultural considerations, public displays of affection are not acceptable.
13. Play with kids outside. No youth or children should be invited into dorm housing. This is for their protection, as well as yours.
14. In years past, teams have been allowed to watch deliveries in the Maternity Center, however that is no longer permitted for reasons of protecting patient privacy. Please do not ask to see deliveries, as we want to take good care of all patients.
Dress Code - It is very important that you dress in a neat, clean, and modest fashion.
1. No sleeveless or spaghetti strap shirts or dresses. Shirts and dresses should have sleeves and should not be low cut or have open backs.
2. Dress and skirt length should not be higher than the knee and are to be worn at all times by females with the exception of a construction project when loose capri pants would be appropriate.
3. Shorts are to be worn only by men in the basketball area or during work projects. Otherwise, long pants are required.
4. Nightwear should be modest and in line with above dress code when leaving rooms to go to a public area (i.e. kitchen, mission house, etc.)
5. It is important that you dress in a neat, clean, and modest fashion. Your appearance is important not only for the mission's reputation, but also because it affects how the local people will perceive you. You may have to submit to certain restrictions regarding dress, body piercing (only acceptable piercing is small earrings for ladies) and hair restrictions (hair length for guys).
1. Keep your room clean and picked up. Take the trash bags from your room and put them in the garbage can outside.
2. Keep snacks in airtight containers to avoid ants and other insects in the rooms.
3. Men should not enter the women’s rooms nor men women's rooms, unless married.
4. All lights should be out at 10:00pm. No one should be out after this time and noise level should be mindful. Our employees live on campus and need their rest. Please be in your room by lights out.
5. Wi-Fi should only be used by the team leader, or in brief cases of contacting home if needed. Team leaders, please use the Wi-Fi very sparingly as it is not strong and our staff depend on it for their work.
6. Each person is responsible to care for his or her luggage.
7. Make best use of the water; however, do not brush your teeth with or drink the tap water. Take brief showers as the water supply is limited in Haiti.
8. Drink plenty of water.
9. Keep hands clean.
10. Do not go barefoot on campus. This includes in the living quarters.
11. Teams will wash dishes after each meal. You are free to set up a rotating schedule for your team of 3-4 team members after each meal. If other teams are also on campus discuss with them how they would prefer to rotate dishwashing schedule. This helps our staff tremendously as they work so hard to serve you.
***Following these guidelines is important not only for the mission’s reputation, but it also impacts how local people will perceive you***