Short-Term Mission Trips

A short-term mission team celebrates a mission accomplished

Haiti: Information for Short-term Missionaries

Living Hope Mission hosts groups from abroad who desire to enlarge their vision for the work being done in Haiti as well as those groups who desire to work along side the local church members on construction projects. A stateside coordinator will assist you in scheduling and planning your trip. Please contact our office for more information.

If you decide to join us at Living Hope Mission as a short-term missionary, you will find the following information useful. We encourage work teams to join us in our work with the Haitian people. Our goal is to lift up Christ in both word and deed. If you do not find the answers to any specific questions you may have, feel free to contact us.

Haiti: Land of Contrasts

Many visitors comment that Haiti is a land of extreme contrasts. The beautiful, tropical climate and the sparkling blue water surrounding the island of Hispaniola all bring forth images of a tropical paradise. The extreme poverty, disease, and human suffering however are overwhelming. Spritually, the Haitian people are generally hungry for the Gospel, but the fear and superstition inherent in voodoo dominates the lives of most common people and restrains them from progress.

Entry Regulations

If you are an American citizen, you will need a valid US Passport in order to enter Haiti. If you do not already have one, please apply for one immediately. It is a good idea to make a copy of the first page of your Passport and carry it separately in the event your Passport is lost or stolen.Upon entering Haiti, you will be given a tourist card which grants you permission to be in the country. Please keep this card with your Passport.If you are not a US citizen, you should check with the Haitian Consulate in Washington DC to find out what kinds of documents are required for your entry into Haiti.

Climate/Dress

Haiti’s tropical climate is usually hot. Some areas of the country are very dry and arid. The Cap-Haitien area, however, is somewhat lush and often humid. The months of November/December and May/June are the rainy seasons. Other times you should expect clear skies and sunshine. Temperatures in the winter usually reach 85 degrees and in the summer in the 90’s. Please keep this in mind when you pack. Cool cotton t-shirts and sport-shirts are good for men and cool dresses and skirts are good for women. People here, especially Christians, are conservative in their dress. They expect women to wear skirts or dresses (no minis) and men to wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. When working construction, men may wear shorts and tank tops. Woman may wear sleeveless tops or blouses exept for worship services when sleeves are required.

Culture

There are many differences between the Haitian and North-American cultures. For you, as a visitor, it is good to keep these differences in mind.Haitian culture focuses much more on inter-personal relationships. When working with a group of people, it is important to take time to greet everyone. This may be in the form of a smile and a “Bonjour” or in the form of a handshake. Make certain you acknowledge everyone before you begin working.Time schedules are much more flexible and relaxed in Haiti. Avoid over-scheduling and be flexible with your time.

Food

The Haitian diet is made up of a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat. One of the most common dishes is rice and beans, served with chicken, fish, or meat. Please try the food, even if it is unfamiliar to you. At the same time, you may like to pack some snacks from home. Please remember to bring a canteen or water bottle.

Money Exchange

The Haitian unit of currency is the Haitian gourde. You will be given the opportunity to change money for souvenirs, snacks, etc. Please remember that in Haiti, single dollar bills are changed at a lower rate than fives, tens, and twenties. Travelers checks are acceptable, but exchange at a lower rate.

Health Concerns

Since Haiti is a tropical country and since many places lack proper sanitation, it is important to take extra precautions. Malaria is a concern for many. You should consult your family doctor regarding whether or not you should take malaria prophylaxis. Also, ask your doctor or public health officials if they recommend taking shots for hepatitis and typhoid. Please make certain your polio and tetanus vaccines are up to date. While in Haiti, use mosquito repellant. Do not drink any water or ice that has not been treated. Do not eat foods sold on the street and make certain you wash your hands with soap regularly. Moist towelettes are a useful item to carry with you when traveling. If at any time you are not feeling well, please inform your group leader.

Things to Expect

  • A warm welcome from your Haitian brothers and sisters.
  • Delays in the work due to unexpected variables.
  • The opportunity to meet with different missionaries involved in all kinds of ministries.
  • Bumpy roads and frequent flats.
  • The opporunity to share a song, testimony, or to preach in a church service. This is considered a privilege. Please come prepared.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much money will I need?
    You may want to bring extra money for Cokes ($1.00 each), souvenirs ranging from $2-$50 or more, and other miscellaneous expenses.
  • Does our group need to bring tools or supplies?
    If your group is involved in a work project or VBS, you may need to bring supplies. Your group leader should confirm with LHM exactly what you should be prepared to bring.
  • Will we have to pay customs duties on items we bring into Haiti?
    Generally, personal items are allowed in Haiti. If you are bringing supplies or items to be donated, especially medicines, please let us know in advance.
  • Will there be a place to wash clothes?
    LHM can arrange for you to have laundry done with a day or two’s advance notice. This is actually a good way to provide a job for someone. Be prepared to pay a few dollars for this service.