1. How much does it cost to go to Haiti and how is that money spent?

The program cost to go to Haiti is $1,300 to be on a Medical Team, to participate in the Continuing Medical Education (CME) there is an additional $400 charge. To be on the Surgical team the cost is $1,450; CME is also an option for the same additional charge. Of that, approximately 35% is spent to cover room and board for volunteers and interpreters. 40% is spent on medicines that we hand out at clinic, 10% is spent on salaries for interpreters and nurses, 10% is spent on miscellaneous costs like diesel fuel and folks that help us out at the airport. 3% of your money is saved for things that come up during the trip, like a patient who needs urgent surgery, expensive medications, or inpatient treatment and 2% covers administrative costs.  Volunteers can fundraise or pay for it all themselves.  In addition, you will need to pay yourself for your airfare, Friday night Miami hotel, souvenirs, and spending money.

2. I don't have a medical background. Can I still volunteer?

Everyone on our teams has extraordinary value!  It takes people with all sorts of skills to make a trip run well.  We need non-medical volunteers who can help with clinic flow, help organize the pharmacy, do data entry, serve food, take pictures, tell stories, teach people about handwashing and other basic skills, reflect on their experiences, and play with children. Additionally, each trip is different and we never know what people’s needs will be until we get there. 


3. Is it Dangerous?

There certainly are parts of the capital city of Port-au-Prince that are dangerous.  We stay away from those.  In the rural areas where we work it is exceptionally safe. One of the benefits of going back to the same communities over and over again is that these people have become our friends.  They watch out for us and make sure that we are safe.  We also stay in close contact with a number of people in different parts of Haiti.  That way, as conditions change we get the most up-to-date information from on the ground.  We use this local expertise to determine if there is a real concern about security or transportation so that we can adjust accordingly if the need arises.

4. What types of donations do you need?

Money, Medications, Medical Supplies, and Food

Please see the Type of Donations Page for more information

5. What Immunizations do I need?

Most of what you need, you probably already have. It is recommended that you have an updated Tetanus shot (within the last 10 years), as there is a fair bit of tetanus in Haiti. Everyone also should have their Hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), diphtheria (often part of the tetanus shot), pertussis (may be part of the tetanus shot if you’ve had it in the last 2-3 years), and varicella (if you haven’t had the chicken pox) vaccines. You probably don’t have a typhoid vaccination, which you should have for Haiti. This requires a booster every 2 years.  Most people would also recommend getting the meningitis vaccine, which you may or may not have gotten depending on your age. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends that you complete the rabies vaccine series prior to leaving for Haiti but our teams do not routinely (if ever) get it. Finally, everyone needs to take some sort of malaria prophylaxis! You don’t want to experience malaria first hand.  Malaria in Haiti is still sensitive to chloroquine. You should see your doctor or visit a travel clinic at least 2 months prior to your departure to make sure that you have everything that you need.  You can look at the CDC’s website for more information. www.cdc.gov.  Talk to your healthcare provider or travel clinic about what is best for you.  In addition, you should bring some mosquito repellant with DEET to help prevent malaria and dengue fever.


6. Do I have to be able to speak French?

No. The primary language in Haiti is Kreyol (or Creole), which is similar to French. It is analgous to the difference between Spanish and Portuguese. Often people understand some French and can get the jist of what you are trying to say, but it is difficult to get around well with French. We work with some of the best translators around. They speak English very well and do a great job of teaching Kreyol. They also have a lot to teach about Haitian history and culture. We try and ensure that we have enough translators available that everyone has a chance to interact with patients. 

7. I can't travel right now, is there anything I can do to help from home?

Absolutely. We can always use help getting the word out about our organization. We also have a lot of need for people with marketing, finance, data entry, database management, grant writing, and other skills. We also can use a lot of help periodically with organizing and setting up fundraising events, moving things around our storage unit, and performing regular inventories of medications and supplies. Please Contact Annie Vander Werff if you are interested in getting involved. You can also Like! us on Facebook to keep current on what’s going on and to spread the good word to all of your Facebook friends.

Can’t find your question on this page?  Please Contact Us to get answers, find out more, or give us suggestions.