a VirtualTourist member from Kigali
Hi everyone, getting ready to go on a volunteer medical trip with 30 other medical professionnals (Healing Hands for Haiti organization). Just wondering if anyone had any valuable tips or ideas on what to see. Will be mostly in Port au Prince, later
Will do. I have been in contact with many connections and all in all they tell me that everything we are hearing here in Canada and the States is exagerated by the media. (Ironically enough this comes from a journalist there right now). talk to you soon, Marc
always the top priority.... sincerely, Marc
Marc, I also would like to volunteer to go to Haiti. Can you tell me more about your experience? About the foundation you were working with? I checked them out on-line and I am definitely interested. When you were in Haiti, was it dangerous at all? I realize it's a little bit of a different picture now but I want to know your experience. Thank you, Cindy
Hello Cindy, I am glad to hear that you are interested in volunteering with such a great organization. Healing Hands for Haiti is an organization that is concentrated on rehabilitation medicine. Since you've probably read up on the basics at www.healinghandsforhaiti.org, I will tell you a bit of information that you might not be able to get off the website. Most teams are composed of medical professionals and support workers (I don't know if you work in the medical profession or not???). Support workers roles include many tasks. Just a few to give you an idea include helping move things, asssiting team members with some procedures, building and repairing things (with duct tape of course..hehehe the key item!!!), playing with children and pretty much doing anything that you can to help out. Trips ussually last approximately 1 to 2weeks. I know most US team members pay for their trip out of there own pocket. Us Canadian teams have been fundraising for the past 2 trips to go. You stay in a great guesthouse when you are down there. They serve you breakfast and supper. Great food!!! Don't expect a hotel.....you need to bring a bug net of course. Most people also used bug spray but i didn't touch mine all week! i also slept without a bug net for 2 nights and I barely got bit (maybe I was lucky). It was a great atmosphere at this guesthouse as you were romming with yuor fellow team members. There was even a great pool which is a key when coming back after a long days work!!!!! As for safety let me say that I felt very safe with this organization. ............
............Yes there are times when yuo do get a bit shaken, but you have to expect this since you are in a very unstable third world country. You most of all have to be assertive and not passive or else people will keep bugging you. I know sometimes it is tuff to say no, but you can get in a big mess if you do end up saying yes. Our team concluded the last day that our safety was mostly jeporadized by the driving. They drive like nutcakes! However we did make it through the week without any crashes! the situation is getting very rowdy right now in Haiti and teams have been having to cancel their trips. Hopefully things will resolve shortly, however I am not sure that will be the case. We'll see. Individuals see danger in different ways whcich means it really depends what you consider dangerous and what kind of lifestyle you live. I know some people were more nervous then others when driving through PAP. I can say that i was just enjoying the experience. I do like adreneline but i am by far NOT crazy!...gotta run...right more later....
Can't believe I spelt write...right!!hahahahah
Marc, Thank you so much. Your information was great. I've already gotten in touch with the foundation and they seem fantastic. I am not in the medical field so I was extremely pleased to find out that they need support staff members. I am a professional writer so maybe I will be able to help out with their newsletters as well. I have written many newsletters for companies. I was looking for a trip that didn't involve lying on a beach somewhere and that would be something I could write about. You gave me a good feel for the organization and the safety in Haiti. I don't scare easy and I am also something of an adrenaline junkie but not crazy. Thank you again and if you want to speak more about your trip, I'd be thrilled. If not, thanks for your long informative reply. Cindy
I have gone on two volunteer trips to Haiti and have found them to be the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. My Haitian friend says "Haiti is a place that gets in your heart" and I have found this to be very true. Once you go and experience all that Haiti is, you will always love it. The group that I went through had a lot of freedom to do many things once in Haiti. We were in a rural village and staying at a convent. My experience in a rural area was much much different from Port-au-Prince and definitely a look at a different Haitian lifestyle from "city life." During our days, we could work at a school, at an orphanage, at a plant nursery, at a nutrition centre for malnourished children, or just spend time with local families. Before planning your trip, research different organizations that work in Haiti and their committment to the Haitian people and choose one that suits you and what you want to give to and get out of Haiti. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful country in many ways.
Hello Jane04. i have just returned from another volunteer medical trip to Haiti (today actually). Our rehab focused team was able to treat over 250 people in one week and visit approx. 7 orphanages. We accomplished lots in little time. I only wish I could be there longer.... Cheers, Marc