GENERAL TRIP INFO We take several trips to Haiti each year. Each team is composed of either 3-4 people or 8-14 people (these odd numbers have to do with the size of the small planes we charter in Haiti). Everyone pays their own way to come see Haiti and participate in what we are doing there. The dates and the purposes of the trips vary. Some trips we do each year, which you might consider, are:
Annual Child Sponsorship Trip to visit the villages and take photos of all the kids and bring new children into the program.
We generally take one construction trip to do some work on a school we are building.
Annual Medical Clinic Team
Annual trip to see Haiti and build school benches
Many of our teams leave out of the Chicago area. Other teams leave from places as far as Indianapolis and Austin. You can also link up with a team from one of these areas by meeting them in the Miami airport, since all the flights into Haiti go through there. Here are some frequently asked questions about our trips to Haiti...
How long are the trips? Usually one week (we will often for example, leave on a Tuesday morning and return the following Tuesday evening).
How much does it cost to go on a trip? If you are flying out of Chicago, the cost of the trip is $1800. If you are flying out of somewhere else, it may be $200-300 more.
What does that include? It includes round trip airfare to the capital city, Port au prince, round trip airfare from Port au Prince to the city of Jeremie (at the end of the peninsula near our work area), ground transportation once we get to our work area, lodging at our NLH house (Kay Bo Rivye, "the house by the river"), and food while at the NLH house).
What does it not include? You will need to bring:
$10 Cash for an entry tax we pay on the way into the country
$40 Cash for our overnight at the guest house in Port au Prince (going only, we don't overnight in PAP on the return)
$30 Cash for ground transportation in Port au Prince
$20 (approximately) as tips for our staff at the NLH house (we give them a gift at the end of the week to bless them)
$??? Money for eating in airports, etc. along the way
$??? Money for any souvenirs you decide to buy
Do I have to pay it all at once? No. You have to pay a non-refundable $400 deposit at the time of your application. Then there are points where a certain amount is due. We try to make sure we have collected most of the money by the time we have to buy the American Airlines tickets, because New Life for Haiti cannot get that money back from the airline if you cancel.
How do I apply? What else do I have to do? Click here to go apply online. You will also have to complete some forms (see the Travel Documents page).
Can I book my own airfare? No. We coordinate all flight times between people flying from various cities, and also with the timing of the small planes we charter in Haiti. In order to avoid mistakes in coordinating flight times, all airfare must be booked by the New Life for Haiti office. The cost of airfare is included in the price of your trip.
How old does a person have to be to go? 14 years old. In some cases, a younger child may come if accompanied by their own parent.
What will I be doing in Haiti? This varies from trip to trip. You may be asked to participate in a work project, but this depends very much on the work that needs to be done at the time. A big part of coming to Haiti is to see Haiti, to experience the people, see both the poverty and the beauty, and to gain an appreciation of the needs and of what New Life for Haiti is doing there. Some things all teams do are: Interact with the Haitian people and with children; Visit schools; Visit the marketplace; hike to a mountain village; Attend a Haitian church on Sunday.
Is it safe to go to Haiti? It is almost always very safe to go to Haiti. In all our years, there has only been one time where political unrest caused us to cancel a trip. The thing to remember is that we have many American friends who live in Haiti, and if there is ever any question about the safety of traveling at a particular time, we ask them what they think.
How do we get there? We fly from Chicago (or other U.S. departure points) to Miami, and from Miami to Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, on American Airlines, then from PAP to the city of Jeremie on a small airplane.
Where do we stay in Haiti? On the first night we usually stay at a Catholic guest house called The Matthew 25 House in Port au Prince. Once we arrive out in the valley where we work, we stay at our own house, Kay Bo Rivye (“The House by the River”). The house is large, comfortable, and has showers, flush toilets, safe filtered water, and electricity.
What do we eat while we are there? A mixture of Haitian food and American food.
Do I need special medications or shots? You must have an up to date Tetanus shot. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control generally recommends the following vaccinations for people traveling to the Caribbean: MMR, DPT, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid. Many people who come on our teams do not get all of these shots, but these are your decisions to make-- we recommend you discuss what other shots or medications you may want with your own physician. Some people also choose to take an anti-malaria medication, but most do not; you may want to discuss this with your doctor also. You can visit the CDC website for further information.
Can I meet my sponsored child? The odds are very good that you can. If you are hoping to do so, please let us know that in t he comments section of your application form, so that we can track down where your child lives and whether it looks like we can get to that village on a particular trip. We work hard to make such meetings possible, because they mean so much to both the child and to the sponsor.
What language do they speak in Haiti? They speak a Kreyol (“mixture”), which is a mix of French, a little Spanish, and various African dialects.
What do I pack? What else do I need to know? After you apply, you will be emailed or mailed a Team Member Handbook, which will answer other questions and also contains a suggested packing list and luggage instructions.