We are excited that you'll be serving with Harvest Field!
We want you to be as prepared as possible for your time serving in Les Anglais. Please download the documents below, and read them thoroughly, along with the other information on this page so you can begin preparing for your time serving in Les Anglais.
Trip Preparation Guide - contains all the information on this web page and much more. The covenant & liability release, as well as the basic Creole guide, are in the back of this document.
Suggested Packing List - a helpful list of suggested items to bring with you.
Donation Items - a list of supplies and medicines we use often that you can request your friends, family, and co-workers to donate for our use in Haiti.
Sample Support Letter - a template you can use if you are requesting financial support for your trip.
Case Definitions & Treatment Guidelines - this is a lengthy document explaining our medical protocols; only the providers who are directly treating patients will need this document.
ADDITIONAL PREPARATION INFORMATION
Is it Safe?
Haiti is a country with a centuries old history of political instability and crime. The US State Department for many years has maintained the recommendation for Americans to “defer non- essential travel to Haiti”. There is inadequate police force and emergency services. Most medical facilites are lacking and behind the times. Roads are often damaged and inadequaely sized, and driving laws are rarely enforced so travel can be treacherous. Mosquitoes carry illnesses such as malaria, typhoid, and dengue fever. All that said, we must acknowledge that scripture is full of examples teaching us that God asks us to do things that may not be considered safe to our culture.
We believe in being obedient to God’s will, but we also firmly believe that we should use wisdom in our preparation and in the way we serve. In rural Les Anglais crime is not a big issue like it is in the overcrowded cities (although no community can ever be completely immune from crime). If the current political or social climate dictates, we employ National Police for security escorts. We hire trusted drivers for our transportation. We insist everyone have the vaccinations outlined by the CDC and that everyone takes his or her malaria preventative medicines. We require all team members follow strict safety guidelines set forth by your team leader. We sleep at secure, trusted facilities. We have all these measures in place to minimize any safety issues. We want every team member to return from their trip healthy and ready to serve again.
In the event of a significant illness or accident, there are a couple of medical facilities in Port-au-Prince that are capable of providing medical care similar to the level to which Americans are accustomed. If there were ever a critical illness or life-threatening injury, there is a helicopter med-evac service provided by a trip insurance policy that mosts groups purchase. The med-evac service can transport people to a hospital in Miami or Fort Lauderdale.
Where do we go?
Our teams serve in the region of Les Anglais, along the southern coast, at the end of the southern peninsula. You can find Les Anglias on Google Earth at 18 degrees, 18 minutes, 23 seconds; North 74 degrees, 13 minutes, 8 seconds West. There are a few pictures we’ve tagged on google earth of the clinic, the river crossing, the orphanage, etc.
What immunizations do I need?
Check with your local health department and they will give you suggested immunizations, but the following are typical immunizations for traveling to Haiti:
- Tetanus shot within the last 10 years
- 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)
- Typhoid (requires a booster every 2 years)
- Varicella (if you haven’t had the chicken pox) vaccines.
- Most people would also recommend getting the meningitis vaccine, which you may or may not have 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 typically get it.
Finally, everyone needs malaria prophylaxis. Malaria in Haiti is still sensitive to chloroquine. Most family doctors will prescribe chloroquine for their patients without a trip to the doctor if you call and explain you'll be traveling to Haiti.
Visit your doctor or a travel clinic at least 2 months prior to your departure to make sure that you have everything that you need. Also, look at the CDC’s website for more information.
Lastly, bring some mosquito repellant with DEET to help prevent malaria, dengue fever, chikengunya, and other tropical disease carried by mosquitos.
Where do we stay?
There is a small guesthouse/hotel in Les Anglais. Accommodations are basic, but they provide beds, toilets, showers (no hot water), and electricity in the evenings (via a diesel generator). The hotel is surrounded by a large security wall and we’ve never had any safety issues arise while staying here.
How much does it cost?
Medical Teams are $1,200 per person. Each team member also pays for their own airfare.
Approximately half of the cost covers all items needed to provide the clinics (prescription and over the counter medicines, supplies, equipment, customs fees, translators, etc.). The other half pays for the team's lodging, meals, transportation, generators for electricity, trip insurance policy, etc.
Note: If you are part of a non-medical team, your leader will provide more information on cost, which varies based on project costs for how the team is serving (evangelism, construction, etc.)
What do we eat?
Our teams will have a light breakfast and a big dinner prepared for them, but will eat lunch on their own with food they brought from home. Typical evening meals include rice, beans, fried plantains, goat, fish, bread and some of the best coffee around. Our hosts are very careful in how they prepare food to make sure everything is cooked properly.
Most people enjoy the Haitian cuisine. But until you know if you like a food, just take a small portion, test it, and if you like it, then eat up! No food in Haiti ever goes to waste. If everyone in the house eats and there are still leftovers, there will always be someone that will gladly eat what is left. So please do not put a lot of food on your plate if you do not intend to eat it.
Also, be mindful of who is around when snacking or eating an on-the-go lunch. If you are eating in site of others you'll likely find lots of hungry kids staring at you. The result will be that you will feel guilty and they'll still be hungry. So if you need to snack while out, it is best to make sure you have a private spot. Otherwise you can wait until you are back at the guest house.
Check out the packing suggestions below for food items to bring.
Other Useful Info
Remember you are a guest in Haiti.
You probably wouldn’t appreciate a group of Europeans coming into your neighborhood and telling you how to fix U.S. healthcare or our educational system; pointing out the things they feel are wrong with the US. Haitians wouldn’t enjoy us doing that in their country either. Be humble and ask questions. Sit down and take the time to get to know people. Engage in conversation. But do so as a learner and with compassion to listen, learn, and understand their struggle.
Greeting and Speaking with Haitians.
Haitians are generally polite and expressive people. Strangers will commonly greet each other. You may want to learn a few Creole greetings and phrases. Upon beginning a conversation, it is common practice to first spend a brief time discussing how they and their family are doing, commenting on weather, or inquiring about any recent events/struggles in their life. After pleasantries are exchanged, then you can move into the topic of discussion.
Even if you are speaking with someone who doesn’t speak much English, he/she will likely enjoy talking with you. Many Haitians like learning English from you and will probably want to teach you a few Creole words.
Check out the useful phrases below for more info.
Enjoying church services.
You'll have the option to attend church. Just as in America, church services vary but all have a Haitian flavor to them. Some churches have bands and instruments, while others have only singing. Haitians rarely get in a hurry, so they might worship for an hour or more before the message starts. Sometimes they'll have more than one speaker give full sermons. Their services are typically not rushed. Bring your water bottle with you. If you need to excuse yourself from a service, just do so discreetly.
Nearly half of the 10 million people populating Haiti are children and the church services are no different. You will notice that as many as half the seats or more are usually filled by kids. Some churches are strict with the children’s behavior and we want to be sensitive to that so we request that you resist the temptation to distract or play with the kids until after the service is over.
Be wise with your safety.
Once out of the larger cities, the concern of crime reduces, but you must still remember you are in a developing country and you are obviously foreigner. Always staying with your group, never flash money, and watch out for your team members around you. Never leave the guesthouse without your leader’s approval and never invite anyone into the guesthouse with you. Always notify your leader or Haitian host immediately if you see anything suspicious or if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable.
Realize that when walking along a road or a pathway that a tap-tap (a sort of Haitian truck taxi), motorcycle, or horse could come whizzing by at any moment. Don’t accept or consume food or water other than what is provided at the hotel/guesthouse.
The sun is intense in Haiti and it is usually very hot and humid. Drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen, especially when working construction, going on walks, and doing other outside or labor intensive work.
Insects and mosquitoes are abundant in Haiti and can carry dieseases such as Malaria, Typhoid, & Dnegue Fever. Make sure you take your anti-malaria medicine (Chloroquine) and always use a DEET based insect repellant.
If attending church, men should wear pants (jeans or khakis) and a nice shirt (a collared golf shirt or button up). Women should wear a dress or skirt that is knee length.
When working, men can wear shorts or pants and T-shirts. Women are encouraged to wear modest shorts, capris, or "skirts". T-shirts or modest sleeveless shirts are also good, but please avoid spaghetti straps, camis, and low cut necks.
Tennis shoes are fine to wear any time, even at church. Some people choose to wear hiking boots, which is fine also. The important thing is that your shoes be comfortable and suitable for walking on rocky, dirt roads. Most people bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops to wear in the evenings at the guesthouse.
Some groups choose to go to the beach one day. If you choose to visit the beach then your swim attire should be modest.
Take pictures and video with respect.
Bring your cameras, Haiti and it's people are beautiful. After your trip, it is often difficult to describe what you've experience and photos and video are a great way to share your experience. However, be respectful when taking photos. Ask for approval before taking pictures. Typically saying “Photo OK?” will do the trick. Most of the time you will receive a gracious smile and nod; sometimes they’ll even go get the rest of their friends and family so you can photograph them too. If they don’t want their photo taken, it will be obvious by their reaction. If they decline, politely say “Mesi” and put the camera away. While in the guesthouse, schools, orphanages, or school you are welcome to take pictures or video any time.
When asked for money, items, or information.
Because of centuries of poverty and the many years of foreign aid in Haiti, you can expect to frequently hear “Hey blan, give me one dollar/your watch/your hat/etc.” We want to be compassionate, but foreigners randomly giving handouts creates problems in Haitian society, so we don’t allow our team members to give things away. We realize it is extremely difficult to say no when you are face to face with extreme poverty. We understand this is a challenging request, but we ask that you consider the ministry’s long-term efforts and acknowledge that when our team members give things away, it can cause several problems. For example, It can create significant safety issues for the receiver of the gift – there have been children and the elderly beaten and robbed after receiving a gift from an American. It can create security problems for our Haitian staff and ministry partners, after the team leaves. And, it contributes to a mindset of entitlement, rather than encouraging them to adopt an attitude of self-reliance. We aren’t saying you can't help someone; just that you work with our Haitian ministry partners’ to do so. Our Haitian ministry partners will ensure your donation is used in a manner that encourages the use of the gift to treat the cause of the poverty, rather than just a symptom.
If saying no to a request, be polite but direct. Phrases like “maybe later”, or “I’d like to, but I can’t”, or “I don’t think I can help right now” can sometimes be received as a “yes”, and provide false hope. A simple “no”, is all that is needed. Always let your leader know if someone’s requests become excessive or they make you feel unsafe.
Generations of poverty have caused some Haitians to accept a “degaje pa peche” (making it work isn’t sin) attitude when it comes to getting something. Therefore, some Haitians will intentionally manipulate your emotions to try to get food or money or try to take things that aren’t theirs. We obviously don’t condone this, but realize they or their family may be hungry and they might view you as a way to alleviate that for a short time. Most of us have never been in a situation anywhere close to the level of poverty and suffering they endure on a daily basis so be patient before judging their actions.
Giving away money.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel the Lord wants you to bless someone financially, talk to your leader, and they can help you with this. We will find a way to use your financial gift in a way that gives them a hand up, rather than just giving them a handout. We will provide your financial gift through the local pastor or community center, rather than it being provided directly from you. This strengthens the local church and the work of the ministry to foster entrepreneurial thinking.
Your trip fees include paying our Haitian helpers and translators a fair wage, but some groups desire to further bless the Haitian helpers that work with them during the week. This is a great idea, but please talk to your leader about this first.
Giving away your personal information.
You'll likely be asked for your address, phone number, email address, facebook info, etc. We suggest you not provide this information, as it is frequently shared with other Haitians you don’t even know and it will likely be used to ask you for money after you’ve returned home. If there is someone you meet who you want to correspond with, check with your leaders and they will give you advice. You can always reply with a polite “No, I have been told I can not share that”.
Be sensitive to how your visit could impact the children at the orphanage.
Whether your primary focus is at the orphanage or not, you will probably have an opportunity to spend some time with the kids at the orphanage. About half the kids at the orphanage have no parents and the other half are economic orphans who we hope to reunite with their parents once their families can provide for their needs. Most of these children have lived in very desperate situations before coming to the orphanage and several have experienced severe traumas. We want the teams to bring joy and fun to the kids in a manner that is sensitive to their fragility and what is best for them long term.
We work hard to give them a stable environment and consistency in their caregivers. Because many of the kids have lived in different places with different families or orphanages, some of them already display symptoms of bonding issues and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). So while spending time investing in the kids, keep in mind these suggestions to minimize their confusion once you leave. --If you feel like a child is significantly attaching to you, let us know.
We need to reinforce who their primary caregivers are and that you are just here for a brief visit. If one of the kids calls you “mommy” or “poppy”, let us know. Sometimes in Haitian culture these are just terms of endearment or a sign of respect, but we want to remind them that Pastor Yvon and his wife are their parent figures at the orphanage.
Play with the kids on their turf. Keep time spent with them focused where they normally are - at the orphanage, school, or church. Pastor Yvon prefers we not invite the kids to hangout with us at the hotel/guesthouse because it can create powerful bonds that cause the children distress when you leave after a week.
Avoid mentioning to them if you provide financial assistance for their care. The children understand that the orphanage is primarily funded through generous Americans. But we prefer to keep it general so they don’t make a connection of “Mr. Smith provides for little Pierre”. In Haiti where parents have abandoned their children to orphanages due to the inability to feed them or meet basic needs, it is understandable that these children will want to bond with a person they think is financially providing for those basic needs.
Typically we fly American Airlines which allows each traveler two (2) carry-on bags that you keep with you on the plane (see AA.com for size restrictions). We request team members pack their personal items in these two
(2) carry-ons. This allows the two (2) checked bags (up to 50 lbs) allowed for each traveler to be filled with items that the ministry, orphanage, or churches need; or to be packed with the items needed for your specific team projects. We will work with you to give you a specific list of items you will need to bring in your checked bags. Below are some suggestions but also take a look at our Packing Checklist too.
- Passport. It is a good idea to make 2 copies of your passport photo/signature page and leave a copy with a family member and bring a copy with you (kept somewhere different from your passport). It's also a good idea to email yourself a copy so you have a digital copy too.
- Bible, journal/notepad, a good book, pens.
- Any prescription medicines (in the bottle from the pharmacy with your name on it.
- General medicine – Aspirin/Tylenol/Ibuprofin, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium, Dramamine if sensitive to motion sickness.
- Mosquito Repellant - Spray or wipes with high DEET content. (Aerosol cans are not recommended due to airport TSA rules). Mosquito repellant bracelets and Off Clip On Repellants work well too. The guesthouse does not have mosquito nets, but you are welcome to bring one if desired.
- Toiletries - Soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste, hand sanitizer, wipes, shaving supplies, sun-screen, chapstick, extra contacts/glasses.
- An extra towel.
- Light sleepers may want to bring ear plugs and/or a sleep aid.
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
- Trash bags – bring several for trash, dirty clothes, wet clothes, etc.
- Camera, and/or video camera (with charger or extra batteries).
- Hats, visors, bandannas, or pony-tail holders.
- Food – bring enough dry, non-perishable food for lunch each day and for snacks. Anything that will not easily be crushed or melt – common foods people bring are tuna kits, beef jerky, granola bars, power bars, trail mix, gummy bears, dry cereal, peanuts, and tortilla wraps with peanut butter. The single packet powdered drink mixes are handy if you want something other than water. Haitian coffee is served most mornings at the guesthouse.
- TWO (2) reusable water bottles, with a wide mouth (for easy refilling) work best. They need to be empty at the airport, but once through security in the Miami Airport, you can fill them so you have water for the initial truck ride.
- One pair of comfortable walking shoes and one pair of sandals/flip flops.
- Men – 1 pair khaki’s and 1 nice shirt for church. Several pairs of shorts or pants and enough shirts for each day.
- Women – 1 dress/skirt for church. Several skirts, dresses, shorts, skorts, or capris and enough shirts for each day.
Things you NOT to bring
- Large amounts of cash ($200 is usually plenty for most people to cover airport meals, souveniers, etc.)
- Cash in large denominations. Ones and Fives are best.
- Traveler’s Checks, ATM/Debit/Credit Cards
- Strong perfumes or body sprays (they just attract mosquitoes)
- Expensive or valuable jewelry
- Weapons or Airport TSA banned items
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- A bad attitude
We often hear team members say after returning home “I wished I had learned some creole before my trip.” Your team will have Haitian translators with you, but many enjoy learning some basic creole so they can greet people and ask some basic questions. Below are a few common salutations, phrases, and useful words. Also, check out our PDF version for more phrases. For those interested in learning more, we recommend purchasing Haitian Creole Dictionary & Phrasebook, by Charmant Theodore, or Creole Made Easy, by Wally Turnbull. There is also a handy computer program and smartphone app called BYKI/Creole that provides good practice.
Haitian Creole is a unique blend of French, Spanish, and several West African Languages. Slaves were taken from their homes in West Africa by the French, Spanish, and Dutch in the 1600’s to work the farms and mines in Haiti. Since they spoke many different languages, communication was a challenge. Through the generations, the Creole language was verbally and informally developed as a way for the people to communicate with each other. After the slave revolt and the people gained their independence from France in 1804, they made French the official language, although few Haitians actually spoke French. In the 1960’s Haiti declared French and Creole dual national languages, and in the 1970’s the government began developing official grammar rules, spelling, and teaching resources. Today, French is used by the government, in higher education, and by the socially & financially elite. But Creole remains the language of the masses.
Kijan ou ye/Koman ou ye?
(how are you?)
Mwen byen, e ou menm?
(I’m good, what about you?)
Mwen byen ak Jezi
(I’m good, with Jesus)
Tre byen, mesi
(I’m doing great, thanks)
Mwen byen, grasa Dieu
(I’m good, thanks to God)
Pa pi mal
(Not too bad)
Mwen pa bon
(I’m not good/I’m bad)
Kijan fanmi ou ye?
(How’s your family)
Kijan ou relle?
(What’s your name?)
Ki laj ou?
(How old are you?)
Kijan ou di sa?
(How do you say that?)
Kijan ou di “hello”?
(How do you say “hello?)
Eske ou pale Angle?
(Do you speak English?)
Tout moun byen
(Everybody is doing well)
(I’m chillin’/I’m hanging in there)
Mwen relle Pierre
(My name is Pierre)
Mwen gen 30 ane
(I’m 30 years old)
Sa se relle “kreyon”
(We call that “kreyon”)
Ou di “bonjou”
(You say “bonjou”)
Mwen pa pale Angle
(I don’t speak English)
Bonjou (Hello) (before lunch); you can add..msye (sir), madam (ma’am); mademwazel (young lady)
Bonsia (Hello) (after lunch until evening)
Bon nwit (Good night) (late evening/bed time)
Bon vwayaj (Safe travels/Have a good trip)
Common phrases or expressions
Wi, souple (Yes, please)
Non, mesi (No, thanks)
Eskize mwen (Excuse me)
Mwen regret sa/Padon (I’m sorry)
Mwen regret tande ke (I’m sorry to hear that)
Mesi anpil (Thanks a lot)
Pa gen pwoblem/Padekwa (You’re welcome)
Mwen pa konprann (I don’t understand)
Mwen pa konnen (I don’t know)
Mwen renmen sa (I like that)
Mwen pa renmen sa (I don’t like that)
Mwen kontan (I’m happy/grateful)
Mwen tris (I’m sad/discouraged)
Mwen bezwen.... (I need....)
- twalet (bathroom)
- Paste Yvon (pastor Yvon)
- kitel (to leave)
- telefon (a phone)
Tanpri, mwen ka itilize telefon ou? (Please, can I use your telephone?)
Common words of encouragement
Bondye bene ou (God bless you)...said when leaving, or after talking for a while
Bondye konnen tout bagay (God knows it all)...sometimes said if some- one has just told you their bad situation
Jesi renmen ou apil. (Jesus loves you very much)
Ou gen yon bel peyi (You have a gorgeous country)
Mwen pral priye pou ou (I will pray for you)
Kikote? (Where) Kimoun? (Who)
Konbyen? (How much)
Kisa sa ye? (What’s that)
1...en, 2...de, 3...twa, 4...kat, 5...senk, 6...sis, 7...set, 8...wit, 9...nef, 10...dis, 11...onz, 12...douz, 13...trez, 14...katoz, 15...kenz, 16...sez, 17...dizset, 18...dizwit, 19...diznef, 20...ven, 21...ventyen, 22...ventyde, 23...ventytwa, 30...trant, 31....trantyen, 40...karant, 50...senkant, 60...swasant, 70...swasantdiz, 80...katreven, 90...katrevendiz, 100...san, 200...desan, 300...twasan, 1,000...mil, 2,000...demil