Together
owning the
lostness, the
brokenness
and the
poverty of the
Northwest
region in Haiti

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FAQs //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Preparing

How do I sign up for a trip?

  1. Find the trip dates posted online (under “Upcoming Events”).
  2. Choose the date that best fits your schedule.
  3. Submit an application.
  4. Submit a $500.00 deposit (sorry, but NWHCM cannot process applications without a deposit).

Can I get an estimate of my trip’s cost before I commit?

Yes. Please e-mail trips@nwhcm.org and provide your desired trip dates and departure city.

Is my deposit refundable?

Your trip deposit is a tax-deductible contribution to NWHCM. As such, IRS regulations do not allow NWHCM to refund trip deposits.

What is NWHCM Points?

NWHCM’s Points program is a unique way to earn a scholarship for your mission trip or someone else’s, while helping the poor in Haiti at the same time. Taking advantage of it is easy! Click here to learn more

Do I need a passport?

Yes. A valid passport is required for all travelers entering or leaving Haiti.

On your trip application, we ask for your name as on your passport. When we book your airline tickets, the name on your ticket must match exactly the name printed in your passport. Mismatching names — even a middle name or initial — may result in failure to board the plane and forfeiture of your tickets. So please provide us with your full, legal name for those purposes.

How do I bring a group on an NWHCM mission trip?

  1. Find the trip dates posted online (under “Upcoming Events”) and choose a date that best fits your team’s needs. Contact trips@nwhcm.org to inquire about dates not listed.
  2. Contact our travel manager at trips@nwhcm.org to get price quotes (per individual) for your trip.
  3. Begin putting together your team. Once you get a feel for the ways your group wants to serve, NWHCM will help coordinate your daily activities based on the makeup of your group.
  4. Deposits and applications are due no later than 90 days before your departure. For teams traveling in the spring, we recommend deposits as early as the October before your trip date. If traveling in the summer, we recommend deposits no later than January before your trip date.
  5. Depending on your group’s or church’s location, we may have an NWHCM representative meet with your team before your trip date.

What vaccinations do I need?

The Centers for Disease control recommends various vaccinations before traveling to Haiti. Please see the CDC’s website for up-to-date information and consult your doctor.

We require all NWHCM travelers to have an updated tetanus shot.

In accordance with the CDC, we strongly recommend vaccinations for typhoid, Hep A, Hep B, and a malaria prophylaxis.

What payments are required for my NWHCM mission trip?

We require a $500.00 deposit before any tickets can be purchased, due at least 90 days before your trip date.

The next $500.00 is due 60 days before your departure.

The remaining balance is due 30 days before your departure.

How do people fundraise for a mission trip?

Please see our Team Member Packet for ideas on how you can fundraise for your trip.

Can I purchase my own plane ticket?

No. Due to the logistical complexities of traveling to and within Haiti, all mission trips must be booked through the mission. However, we can often apply your frequent flyer miles, you can indicate your schedule preferences, and we can also use your points to purchase tickets, if you prefer.

Packing

Can I bring in tubs/coolers as luggage?

Sometimes. However, airlines establish special restrictions on luggage during certain times of the year, so please check with the travel manager or with your airline before bringing tubs, coolers and chests as luggage.

What do the airlines allow me to bring for luggage?

Baggage allowances change, so be sure to check your airline’s website for updated information. American Airlines has generally allowed two 50 lb. bags for international flights. However, your domestic/connecting flights on other carriers may charge for those bags. You should be prepared to pay for them when you check in, in case you are charged.

How much should I pack?

Most people pack one bag for themselves and the other bag to bring in supplies for the mission. Please see the detailed packing list in our Team Member Packet for more information.

How much money should I bring?

There are not a lot of ways to spend money in Northwest Haiti, so do not plan to bring a lot of cash for spending. But there are a few things you might want money for:

LAUNDRY – $15
NWHCM pays local women in our communities to wash clothes for us. It is an important source of income for them and helps provide for their families. Laundry is normally 5.00 per bag. Depending on how many outfits your bring, you may send out laundry 2 or 3 times.

CANTEEN – $10 to $20
Travelers can purchase cold drinks, snacks, and other items from the NWHCM canteen. All net revenues go to support NWHCM ministries.

SOUVENIRS – $30 to $100
We have a market day once a week at the mission’s main campus in Saint-Louis du Nord. Everything at the market is Haitian-made. Market days are a great chance for you to pick up gifts for those who helped you come to Haiti, for family and friends, or to keep for yourself. All money from purchases goes directly to those who make and sell the items.

In Transit

What happens once we arrive at the airport in Port-au-Prince?

After getting off the plane in Port-au-Prince (Haiti’s capital city), you will go through Haitian customs and then proceed to retrieve your checked baggage. The international airport in Port-au-Prince is a large, secure, commercial facility and is very traveler-friendly. NWHCM staff will be on-hand in NWHCM shirts to help retrieve your luggage. They will also escort you or your group out of the airport to waiting NWHCM vehicles, which will take you to your next destination.

How will we get from Port-au-Prince to Northwest Haiti?

Transport from Port-au-Prince to Northwest Haiti depends on the size of your group and the time of year you are traveling. Most groups in summer and late spring travel by chartered bus to the NWHCM campus where they will be staying (in most cases, Saint-Louis du Nord). If you have severe problems with car sickness, please let us know and we can make other arrangements.

Bus rides generally last between six and eight hours and are a great way to see the Haitian countryside as you drive through.

Small groups and individuals often travel from Port-au-Prince to Northwest Haiti by plane — roughly a 45 minute flight.

Lodging and Community Life at NWHCM

What is the dress-code?

Women must wear skirts or dresses at all times except in the evenings, when pants or capris are permitted on mission campuses (but not off campus). Women may not wear shorts at anytime, as this is generally frowned upon in Northwest Haiti. Straps on tank tops must be at least one-inch wide. Sleeveless shirts are not permitted in church.

Men are allowed to wear shorts and tank tops, pants, T-shirts, etc. For church, men should wear pants and a button-down shirt. Ties are optional but do make a good impression.

Can we make phone calls or e-mail home?

Internet and phone access in Haiti are limited and very expensive, so unfortunately we cannot allow travelers to phone home or access e-mail/Internet. If you urgently need to make contact with someone back home, please speak with your group leader or with an NWHCM staff member.

Personal laptops and PDAs with wireless connections are not allowed. We want you to be fully engaged in ministry while in Haiti and we have found these items can be a significant distraction. When multiple people bring laptops and use NWHCM’s Internet connection, it slows down or shuts down our entire Internet system and severely impedes our ability to do our work. Please respect this rule.

If a laptop is essential for the work you will be doing in Haiti, please contact our travel manager to make special arrangements.

When mission teams are in Haiti, NWHCM staff regularly post photos online of the activities of each day. Please refer friends and family to the Trip Photos section of our website. In addition, we encourage mission team members to contribute to our Travel Blog while in Haiti. It is administered by NWHCM staff, and posts from the Travel Blog appear on our website.

What are the sleeping quarters like?

We have a men’s dorm and a women’s dorm. They will not fit everyone when large groups are at the mission, so we encourage you to bring a tent if your luggage allows. Groups are also encouraged to sleep out under the stars (weather permitting), a favorite experience for many travelers.

We are traveling as a family. Where do we sleep?

You need to bring a tent to house your family if you wish to room together. We have a special section on our main campus dedicated for family tenting.

What about bathroom facilities?

We have flush toilets, showers, and sinks. Generally they have running water, though we may ask large groups to use water from barrels for bathing when our running water cannot keep up with demand.

What sort of food will we eat?

Typically, travelers eat American-style meals for breakfast and dinner. Lunch is generally Haitian food. You are welcome to bring snacks to eat between meals or in place of meals you don’t like.

How is the weather in Northwest Haiti?

Our weather is comparable to the weather in Miami. During the summer months (April to October), light clothing is a must to stay comfortable in the tropical heat and humidity. November through March can sometimes be cooler months, so a sweatshirt at night or a thicker blanket may be handy.

Do I need to bring bottled water?

No. The mission has safe drinking water. You will need a water bottle to carry around with you, which you can fill up with the mission’s water. We have a freezer to help keep your drinks cold. We recommend you have a filled water bottle when you arrive in Port-au-Prince.

Ministry and Mission

I don’t speak Creole. How will I communicate?

We provide bilingual interpreters for every group. They will interpret for you as you do activities and communicate with people in our communities.

If we meet someone on the street that we want to help, what should we do?

The mission does not facilitate and strongly discourages sponsorships and cash gifts for individuals outside of our organization. We have many, many needy children in our programs who need your help. NWHCM staff work diligently to identify and to help the neediest people in the communities we serve, and we have three decades of experience learning how to help people in the most appropriate manner.

While we appreciate your compassion and the genuine desire to give to people outside our ministries, we ask you to help us be the best possible stewards of our resources by working with us to assist those with the greatest need in the most efficient way.

The best way to help on a one-to-one level is to sponsor a child in one of our programs or to make a contribution to one of our ministries or our benevolence fund. If you meet someone with an urgent need, please speak to a NWHCM staff member, who will bring those needs to the appropriate person’s attention.

Do you have regular devotions?

Morning Devotions are at 6:45am every day (except Sundays). Morning devotions typically include a song and a short devotional thought. It may be about a favorite Bible verse, a powerful experience in Haiti, etc.

Evening Devotions are at 7pm. They tend to last around half an hour and include praise and worship and a devotional thought. After evening devotions, everyone is encouraged to share about experiences they’ve had that day with the rest of the group.

We encourage you to sign up for a devotions time slot when you are in Haiti. We recommend you come prepared with what you are going to share.