Primary Care Haiti is an all volunteer, non faith-based, 501(c)(3) non profit organization made up of doctors, ARNPs, PAs, nurses, paramedics, and community organizers. Some of us come from Haiti, some from the United States. We are all committed to changing the healthcare paradigm in Haiti toward a focus on primary care and community education.
Information Regarding Your Stay
- The Medical Facility provides dorm space with clean linens for volunteers to stay as well as three meals per day, bottled water and transportation to and from the airport. The cost is $125 per day per volunteer.
- The Haitian Government will collect $10 cash for people traveling with a US passport upon arrival
- PLEASE NOTE: Haiti does NOT recognize daylight savings time. This may affect flight schedules so check them closely.
- Air travel to Haiti
- International travel can arrive in Port au Prince or Cap Haitian on Domestic Air (American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue)
- We recommend travel to Port au Prince
- Via car/van/bus: travel arrangements are made for us by our Haitian coordinators
WELCOME TO HAITI!
To make this a wonderful and rewarding experience as a volunteer, please read thoroughly through this Traveler’s Manual which will give important information about traveling to Haiti and understanding life in Haiti.
Passport: All U.S. citizens are required to have a passport for travel to Haiti and anywhere outside of the United States and for return to the U.S. For passport information, go to http://travel.state.gov/passport. A photocopy of your passport is recommended to keep with you at all times.
Immigration Card: (given to you on flight to Port au Prince) is required by Haiti Immigration Services. There is a $10 cash fee that is paid upon your arrival in Haiti! Your Immigration card must be completed before landing in Haiti. Fill in the card as follows:
- Passport Number (Write this on card)
- Address of your location in Haiti- Site address will be emailed to you upon confirmation of your trip
If Passport is lost, keep these documents readily available At Home!
- Certified Birth Certificate-necessary to replace your lost or stolen passport
- Two Current Passport Pictures-necessary to replace your passport
- Two Photocopies of Passport
Evacuation Insurance: This covers Medical Reimbursement, Emergency medical Evacuation, Permanent Total Disability, Personal Property, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Repatriation of Mortal Remains, Travel and Medical Assistant Services.
Medical Insurance Card: It is a requirement that everyone has a valid health insurance card. You need to have a copy of the Insurance ID card or proof of insurance. Senior citizens may wish to contact the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) or a travel agent for information about foreign medical care coverage with private Medicare supplement plans. You are NOT covered by Medicare abroad. The Social Security Medicare program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside of the United States.
Travel Safety InformationGeneral Safety Tips:
- Never leave your luggage unattended while traveling.
- Always have a buddy with you at all times; also in the airport.
- Keep your passport, ID and money with you at all times. In Pignon, you may leave valuables in the dorm.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
Registration with the U.S. Department of State and Haitian Embassy:
Each team registered with the U.S. Department of State prior to arrival in Haiti will have their names, passport numbers, and emergency contacts provided to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. This will help the Embassy to provide services to U.S. citizens who are traveling or residing in Haiti.
Medical Needs: Use mosquito repellent (containing DEET) at all times! There are multiple diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitos-Malaria, ZIKA, Dengue Fever and Chikunguya Fever. We strongly suggest that you wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and closed-toe shoes, and socks due to this problem!! *Many volunteers treat clothing and socks with Permethrin.* If you must wear shorts, please cover with mosquito repellent liberally. Also, remember there are parasites which can be contracted from walking without shoes in dirt infested with spores or cysts.
Immunizations: CDC recommends travel vaccines. See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip allowing time for immunizations to be effective. Hepatitis A, B and a current Typhoid vaccines are recommended. Malaria pills are recommended. Travelers must be responsible and provide their own Malaria medication. For liability reasons, we cannot give this to you once you are in Haiti. Check with your doctor about concerns of drug interaction with other medicines that you are taking.
Prescriptions: *Any medical condition should be communicated to your Team leader.*
If you are taking routine prescription medications for a medical condition, bring adequate supplies of the medicine. All medicines have to be in the original labeled container for authentication of contents. Any unlabeled meds could be mistaken for illegal drugs. This includes (over the counter) meds as well. Consult your personal physician before departure for health evaluation and clearance for travel. We strongly suggest that you bring anti-nausea/anti-diarrhea medication as well.
Packing Items/What To Bring
Personal Items and Miscellaneous Suggested Items: *Remember there is not a drug store or convenience store.*
- Personal Medications-Prescription meds & Imodium, Laxative (Pepto-Bismol), Tylenol, Advil and mild sleep aid (Benadryl), ciprofloxacin (for GI illness), zofran
- Earplugs/Noise Cancelling Headphones (To help you sleep peacefully despite the best efforts of roosters crowing at 4am!)
- EMPTY SPRAY BOTTLE - TO WET HAIR/MIST BODY/USE WITH BOTTLED WATER TO BRUSH TEETH
- Lock for your suitcase
- Passport on-body holder-keep it with you at all times (fanny pack is useful to carry passport and other small items)
- Cash IN SMALL BILLS (Haitian vendors do not have change)
- Insect Repellent with DEET
- T-shirts (Team shirt is good for group traveling identification)
- Work clothes- long pants give protection from insect bites (medical scrubs are recommended)
- Nice clothes- (skirt, blouse, dress pants) for giving presentations
- Light weight jacket/sweater (nights can be cool in winter months) Shoes-study closed toe for outdoor work & flip-flops for shower Socks (treated with Permethrin)
- Sunglasses/protective eye wear
- Towel (1 or 2)
- Plastic Laundry bag- Keep dirty clothes separate from clean clothes!
- Toilet paper (2 rolls)
- Bar Soap
- Band Aids
- Sun block lotion
- Flashlight and Extra Batteries
- Wet wipes/Hand sanitizer
- Water bottle
- Granola Bars, snacks & Dehydrated food
- Books for leisure reading
Things to Remember
Water & Drinks- Do not drink or brush your teeth with any water in Haiti! Purified drinking water is provided at dormitory. Do not drink shower water, use ice or local tap water. You could get sick. Bottled water, boiled water, or hot beverages (coffee or tea made with boiled water) are safe!! Canned or bottled beverages and juices are safe. Always clean the area of the bottle that will touch your mouth.
Food- Eat only foods that are prepared by the mission staff at the dorm. Meals are usually served at 8 am, 12pm, and 5:30pm. Do not eat any raw food or milk products. They could be contaminated.
Money & Valuables- ($50-$100) The amount of money you bring will depend on your desire to purchase souvenirs. Do not bring any bills larger than a $20 and we recommend bringing $1 bills to buy most anything. Do not bring Traveler’s Checks! There is not a safe at the dorm to lock your money or passport. Keep your passport in a safe place when traveling and keep it with you at all times. Leave your jewelry at home!!
Camera Usage- Bring cameras but Please Ask people if you may take their picture. Do not snap their picture without asking since some may not want their picture to be taken or will ask to be paid. Please be respectful and sensitive toward others. People have been traveling to Haiti for years taking pictures, and some Haitians have become unwilling to be photographed.
*REMEMBER- To Avoid Illness
Don’t Eat Food Purchased from Street Vendors.
Don’t Drink Beverages with Ice.
Don’t Eat Dairy Products Unless They Are Pasteurized. Don’t Eat Raw produce (salads, uncooked vegetables) Don’t Handle Animals. (Dogs, Cats, Monkeys)
Invitations to the U.S- DO NOT invite a Haitian (i.e. interpreter, teacher, pastors) to the U.S. Be aware that normal, friendly comments are easily misconstrued as actual invitations.
*For Your Protection- DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES, PHONE NUMBERS OR MAILING ADDRESS to individuals.
If someone asks you for something of yours do not say, “Maybe” or “We will see.” This can be interpreted as a “Yes” to Haitians. As this answer gives hope, then it will only encourage a continual pursuit. Again, we discourage any special giveaways as previously mentioned.
IMPORTANT- Begging and Charity (Giving to the Poor)
On the streets of Haiti, many, including children, will beg from others more fortunate. This may occur quite often. It is ESSENTIAL that you observe the following rules about giving. If one person breaks these rules, word is spread throughout the community. This will create an unhealthy environment and undermine our work.
If you bring items to be given away, mission leaders will collect them and distribute them evenly, most likely when you are not present.
Please DO NOT GIVE ANY MONEY unless you coordinate it with host leader. Travelers may not pay rent or finance home construction for anyone without the approval and supervision of mission staff.
There are areas on all campuses where only travelers and staff only are permitted. Please do not invite Haitians into these areas and be respectful of those who live there.
- We do not assist other people being supported outside of our programs. Do not agree to sponsor a child/student directly. We cannot guarantee that money given to individuals outside the programs will be used in the way you intended. People on the street may ask you to finance them for a test, schooling, or supplies. Many of these people already have benefactors or they may not need the money for school at all. There are several individuals within our programs that do need support, and we ask that you work through our organization to support them properly.
- For further information on this topic, please refer to the book, When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert.