No Place Like Home Mission Trip FAQ
Read these frequently asked questions about the volunteer opportunities available at Haiti orphanage No Place Like Home and details about traveling and serving at our mission.
Q. What is the typical length of a short-term mission trip to No Place Like Home?
A: Typically trips are one week in length. For example, if you arrive on a Wednesday, you would depart the following Tuesday. It is preferable to arrive on a weekday so that you are settled in and acquainted with everyone before the weekend arrives. We invite you to join us on Sunday morning and experience a Haitian church service. It is truly a moving experience to hear believers of all ages joining voices to praise God together in Creole. Depending upon your group size, you may need to hire a taxi or bus for round-trip transportation to the church.
Q: What volunteer opportunities exist for short-term mission trips to No Place Like Home?
A: Each trip is tailored to the specific talents and desires of the participants, so please communicate with us what you would like to do. For example, your group may desire to lead a Vacation Bible School at a local church, or go door-to-door soul-winning. We can coordinate these things ahead of time. Also, participants might be gifted in carpentry, painting, construction, electrical, plumbing, etc. There is always a list of projects that need done, and we greatly appreciate volunteers helping us. Regardless of what work you do while in Haiti, the most important thing is for you to spend time with the children at No Place Like Home, playing with them, showing them godly love, and even be part of our family devotions each evening. Keep in mind that the children have scheduled daily activities, so ahead of your visit we will work with you to schedule times for you to interact with the children.
Q: What size groups can be accommodated for mission trips?
A: We will do our best to accommodate any size group. Groups of up to 12 can more easily be accommodated in our Guest House, and transportation can be provided on our short bus, which we ask you to cover the cost for. Larger groups can also be taken care of; however, we may need to utilize accommodations at Palm Inn Hotel, and possibly hire additional transportation services. We simply ask you to cover these costs.
Q: Is there a certain time of year when mission trips are preferred or in more need?
A: Most people tend to take mission trips in the summer months to take advantage of school breaks; however, the need is great for help year-round. The temperature is warm throughout the year, with it being slightly cooler in January and February. Once you figure out when it will work best for your group to come, contact Ted Bailey and Jacques Alexandre [link to email addresses] to make sure we are able to accommodate you at that time.
Q: How should I travel to No Place Like Home?
A: Be sure to have a valid passport. You will fly to Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port au Prince (airport code PAP), Haiti. On the plane, you will be given Customs forms to complete. Once at the airport you will go through the Customs line, then gather your luggage (carts are available for $2US each), and then go through a final Customs inspection as you exit the airport. We will pre-arrange for a driver to pick you up. There will be several Haitians outside the airport offering to handle your luggage. Let your driver decide if/who to hire for this. A suggested tip is $5 per person which you should have prepared ahead of time. Give this money to your driver so that he can pay the tip, but be very careful not to show large amounts of money in public. Your driver will then take you to No Place Like Home. The traffic laws are very different than what you are used to, but try to relax – your driver is very experienced in navigating Haiti traffic.
While here, we can help your group arrange all your transportation needs in and around Haiti. Our short bus can accommodate a median group of 12 people. Our fee for the bus is only $120 daily to drive you in town (the areas of Tabarre and Delmas). The cost for out of town travel will be quoted according to the distance. That fee helps cover the cost of the driver, fuel, oil and maintenance. If you are small group of 3-4 people it is better for you use a taxi cab, and we can help make those arrangement for you if you wish.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Since you are traveling to the Caribbean, it is warm most of the year, and hot during the summer. Shorts for men and women are acceptable at the orphanage and the hotel (if you choose to stay at the hotel). However, it is requested that during church functions, men wear long pants and women wear skirts (knee-length or longer).
Q: Where will I be staying?
A: As long as there is availability, people who are part of a mission team or come to do volunteer work are welcome to stay at the Guest House[link to guest house page] with the approval of Jacques Alexandre and Ted Bailey. There’s a small fee to help cover the cost of operating the house. The advantages of staying at the Guest House are: 1) You will be on site at the orphanage, which means you can spend more time interacting with the kids; 2) You will have easy access to your belongings. The disadvantages of staying there are: 1) The city electricity is usually off during the night. Although there is a backup power supply for lights, it is not sufficient to run the air conditioners, so you will likely need to sleep with fans; 2) Meals are not automatically provided to guests without prearranging them, so you may need to prepare your own meals.
An alternative to staying at the Guest House is staying at a local hotel. You are welcome to select a hotel; however, we recommend the Palm Inn Hotel. The rooms are clean and air conditioned, the property is gated and guarded, they have a pool, which is nice for cooling off in the evenings, and they have a restaurant on-site. A full buffet breakfast is included in the room rate, and additional meals may be purchased. Prices are comparable to what you would pay in the U.S. We have a good working relationship with this hotel, so if you would like to book a room please contact Ted Bailey.
Q: What should I bring?
A: Sheets and pillows are provided. However, we encourage you to bring a new towel to use, and then leave at the orphanage.
Depending on what you will be doing during your stay, you may need to bring supplies for VBS.
For the orphanage work projects there are some tools on-site; however, you are welcome to bring tools, and anything you wish to leave at the orphanage will be put to good use.
Other items you may want to bring are: refillable water bottle, mosquito repellant, backpack or cinch sack, sunscreen, deodorant, sunglasses, work shoes, flip-flops/crocks/sandals.
Bring enough clothes to last your entire trip since there are no guest laundry services at the orphanage. If you are staying at the hotel, laundry services are available for a fee.
Q: Can I bring donated items for the orphanage?
A: The need for new and gently used clothing, toys, diapers, medicine and other supplies is constant. We encourage each guest to bring at least one additional 50-lb. suitcase of donated items. This is an excellent way to involve friends, co-workers, classmates and family in your mission trip.
Q: How much should I bring, and do I need to exchange currency?
A: The Haitian currency is the Gourde (HTG). Here is the current exchange rate, but typically one US Dollar buys around 40-50 Gourde’s.
You do NOT need to exchange your currency since US Dollars are accepted most everywhere. It is recommended for a 1-week mission trip of a family of 4, that you bring at least $10 in $1 bills, $100 in $5 bills and $200 in $10 bills. Try to bring bills that are 2009 or newer and in good condition. You will generally receive change in Gourdes. Checks are generally NOT accepted in Haiti; however, major credit cards are accepted at most stores. Your first expense upon arriving in Haiti is to pay $10 tourist fee at the airport.
Q: What language is spoken in Haiti?
A: Haitian Creole is national language of Haiti. It is a derivative of French, although not an exact match. At the orphanage, you can make do without speaking the language since Jacques & Marie speak fluent English. However, most of the staff and most of the children do not speak English. Some of the older children know some English, so you will be able to somewhat communicate. Interpreters are available for hire upon request. We simply ask that you cover the cost.
Q: Who should I contact to inquire about arranging my group’s short-term mission trip?
A: Please contact Ted Bailey (link to Ted Bailey’s e-mail) to setup the trip. Then at least 30 days prior to the trip email Ted a copy of your travel itinerary along with the names of each team member as they appear on their your passports. Minors under the age of 18 must have an adult designated to act on their behalf in case of emergency.
Beloved future guests and friends, please remember that Haitian culture is very different than what you are used to. Out of respect for the Haitian people and to maintain a good testimony in our community, certain rules are set. These rules are also for the safety of your team and future teams visiting the orphanage and staying in our guest house. If rules are broken or inappropriate behavior is displayed, please know that you may be asked to not return. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.