- About HAC
- Volunteer Program
- How to Get Involved
- Contact Us
Frequently Asked Questions
Volunteers traveling to Haiti for stays of 90 days or less are not required to possess a visa to enter the country. Volunteers will need a valid passport and are recommended to enter the country at least six months before their passport expires. Volunteers should also ensure they have at least one un-used visa page in their passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
#64 Michaud Rue Double Harvest,
Croix des Bouquets, Haiti
Office Phone 37278772
When you arrive at PAP airport you will first need to go through immigration to enter the baggage claim area. After you gather your baggage proceed through customs and exit the airport. There will be a lot of men and taxi drivers asking you where you are going and offering to help you with your bags. Should you decide to utilize their help they will expect a small tip in return. You will have to walk past them through a long covered pathway to the area at the beginning of the parking lot. We will be waiting for you at the end of the walkway with a HAC sign.
HAC-Haiti’s compound is located in the community of Croix-des-Bouquets, about 45 minutes northeast from the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The setting is rural and the compound houses a school to which many people in the community send their children. HAC-Haiti enjoys a positive relationship with its immediate community. In addition, the compound is enclosed by a wall and gate which is generally kept closed and locked throughout the day except during brief peak times, during which our program participants/students are attending various meetings/lessons. However, it should be noted that the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning for the country of Haiti. For more up-to-date information on alerts/warnings as well as statements from the U.S. embassy in Haiti, please visit http://travel.state.gov.
The daily expense you pay as a volunteer covers your general room and board. Specifically this includes the following:
• Pick-up from the airport as well as transportation to the airport upon your departure from Haiti
• Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (any other food is the volunteer’s responsibility)
• Clean drinking water
• Bathroom/shower facilities
• Basic sleeping arrangements (usually a cot or a tent in a shared space)
• Internet usage while in the compound
Volunteers are currently living on the second floor of the compound which contains large open spaces that will be shared by multiple volunteers but divided between genders. The floor is concrete and most of the walls do not reach the ceiling so personal space is minimal. There are two bathrooms in this space equipped with a sink, shower, and toilet. There is no hot water in the compound but the running water has been infused with chlorine tablets to help prevent bacteria. Volunteers should never drink the water from our showers or sinks. Volunteers are asked to bring their own sheets, pillows, and mosquito nets for personal use. The downstairs floor includes classrooms and an area for volunteers to conduct personal work and use the Internet. NOTE: Please carefully look over the suggested packing list since it could be inconvenient or impossible to buy forgotten personal items. There is not a store walking distance to purchase personal items. Mosquitoes and other bugs are very prevalent and very pervasive at night. However, the compound does provide tents and some mosquito netting for cots. The windows in the common space on the main floor of the compound have netting.
Though certainly not exhaustive, the following listed items are strongly recommended
• Health Insurance contact numbers in case of an emergency
• Bath towel
• Refillable Water bottle
• Snack food if desired (Especially important if you have specific dietary needs)
• Sleeping bag or bedding (top sheet, pillow)- We prove dorm style a mattresses/bed frame (cots or bunks) . Volunteers should bring their own linens for sleeping.
• Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher recommended)
• Flashlight- Volunteers sleep in a large open room we recommend bringing a flashlight to use after other volunteers staying at the HAC compound have gone to sleep
• Bug spray
• Any required prescription drugs
• Over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, Imodium HD, vitamins
• Clothes appropriate for work being conducted (“construction” clothes, or clothes for teaching)
• Long pants (useful for most projects and excursions)
• Bathing suit and beach towel
• Money to be exchanged for souvenirs, excursions, or additional food (credit cards are NOT widely accepted here so there is little need to bring those with you unless you anticipate using during travel)
• Any equipment to assist with volunteer projects (paintbrushes, pens, pencils, coloring books etc.)
• Shoes/ sneakers
• Donations (if able; please refer to our Needed Items section of our website)
• Light sweater for cooler nights
• Mosquito net
• Swimsuit incase volunteers decide to take a trip to the beach during their stay
• Hygiene items- Shampoo, Soap, deodorant, shower needs etc. It is easiest if volunteers bring all their own hygiene items, as there is not a shop walking distance from the compound from which to purchase them.
• Notebook/ pens for personal use
Volunteers are recommended to bring their spending money in cash. It is possible to convert US dollars in town but ATMs are rare the bank in town has long lines so exchanging travelers checks could take time away from the volunteer experience. We suggest volunteers bring money to purchase souvenirs, snacks, meals out, or to pay for transportation should they wish to leave the compound at any time during their stay. Prices in Haiti as sometimes as high as those in the US for food and transportation.
Please see our donation page for a complete list of supplies we commonly need donated.
What is the Weather Like?
Haiti is a tropical climate and the weather tends to be quite warm. Volunteers should expect temperatures in the 80s or 90s during their stay. Haiti has two seasons the rainy and the dry season. During the rainy season volunteers should expect it to rain each night and should be prepared for the rain and mud. Volunteers can typically wear shorts and a tee shirt during the dry season but are recommended to bring long pants and a light sweater during the winter months, as temperatures do get cooler at night.
HAC-Haiti is still a small grassroots Non-Government Organization in a rural setting. Though we will do our best to utilize your skills and desires, there is no guarantee that all anticipated projects will occur as scheduled. Inclement weather, holidays, weekends, or any other unforeseen circumstance within the compound or community may cause itineraries to change quickly. However, HAC-Haiti will do its best ensure that there is an appropriate balance between project work and rest (as some of the activities like construction, travel, agricultural, and any site visits can be very tiresome). It’s always a good idea to prepare for this “down time” by bringing a book, journal or other activity to fill this time.
Will I be placed in a project that matches my exact skills?
Though HAC-Haiti will do its best to appropriately place its volunteers based on their skills and qualifications, HAC-Haiti will also place volunteers based on the community’s needs. So it may be possible that an Engineer student could spend an hour or so teaching an English class, or a volunteer with a degree in Community Development might be asked to assist the Women’s Empowerment Group if there is a need. But the volunteers will be notified of this possibility before their trip to Haiti.
What if I get sick while I’m in Haiti?
It is the volunteer’s responsibility to being any over-the-counter medication for minor illnesses. It is also the volunteer’s responsibility to ensure health and evacuation coverage through a global health insurance plan.
There are currently no specific immunizations required to travel to Haiti. Depending on the area of the country where you will work we do recommend that you speak to a health care professional about obtaining the following vaccinations:
- Routine: Be sure that you are up to date on vaccines such as
measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), polio,
seasonal and H1N1 flu, and varicella. It is especially important to have a current tetanus shot.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG): Even if your departure is imminent, one dose of hepatitis A vaccine provides adequate short-term protection for healthy people. For long term protection, a second dose is required 6–18 months after the first dose, depending on the brand of vaccine used.
- Typhoid: There are 2 vaccines available for typhoid prevention. The injectable vaccine may be preferable to the oral vaccine in cases where travel is imminent. The oral vaccine requires refrigeration and 4 tablets taken every other day over one week.
- Hepatitis B: If your departure is imminent, the first in a 3-dose series (day 0, 1 month and 6 months) may provide some protection. An accelerated dosing schedule may be used (doses at days 0, 7, and at 21–30 days with a booster at 12 months).
While we are not currently in a high-risk zone for Malaria, Haiti is under a malaria warning and many volunteers prefer to take daily malaria medication and wear strong mosquito repellent to protect against contraction.
Ways to prevent malaria include the following:
• Taking a prescription antimalarial drug
• Using insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites
• Sleeping under a bednets
All of the following antimalarial drugs are equal options for preventing malaria in Haiti: Atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Malaria medication can be obtained from your health care professional and should be taken a few days before the start of your trip to Haiti and every day while you are in the country.
Though HAC-Haiti will do its best to provide the volunteer with transport to the airport, the volunteer may have to find his/her own transport to the airport and any airfare would be the responsibility of the volunteer.