Is Haiti Safe?
We believe that the safest place is where God calls you to be. If God has called you to be in Haiti, than yes, it will be a very safe place. We live in a small community where everyone knows us and supports the work we are doing. Most families in our community have one or more family members that work for us and we have a strong relationship with them.
Is the Water Safe to Drink?
Yes, our water goes through 3 water purifiers including an UV filter which can pull out bacteria as small as cholera. We recently had our source water (unpurified water) tested and it came back cleaner than the city water where it was tested in Florida.
What Sort of Foods Will I Eat?
One day meals are Haitian and the next they are more common US foods. Breakfasts are Crepes, Haitian Spaghetti, Waffles, Hatian Pasta, French Toast, and Omelets. Lunch on US day’s can vary between hamburgers, burritos, Homemade Macaroni, Shepherds pie, Taco Salad, etc. On Haitian days it’s rice and beans, vegetables, and some sort of beef or chicken. None of our food is too exotic. Most people are afraid of losing weight when they first come down, but after arriving they begin to fear that they’ll gain weight!
We get Breakfast and Lunch prepared for us Monday-Saturday. Each volunteer is in charge of making their own dinners and all meals on Sunday. Food is provided for these meals.
What are the Volunteer Quarters like?
Our volunteer house is really nice and clean. For our short term housing we have two dorm rooms with bunk beds which each has a shared bathroom. We also have three private rooms that have queen beds and private bathrooms. There is a shared living space which has a dining table and full kitchen for you to make dinners.
We are very blessed to have hot water for showering with! We also have flush toilets which is a plus in Haiti!
What is Expected of Me when I’m in Haiti?
COTP expects you to be a good Christian example for the children, staff, community, and other volunteers to look up to. You are expected to help with the development of the children either through playing with them directly or helping with projects around the compound which provide a safe and clean place for these children to flourish. You are expected to ask our long term staff if you have any questions and follow their directions as they have a better understanding of Haiti and COTP. And finally you are expected to fully enjoy your time with us and allow God to be present during your time here!
What is the Typical Day for a Short Term Volunteer?
Normally short term volunteers (STV’S) start their day around 7 am. Some of the first tasks include teeth brushing, spraying leave in conditioner in the kids’ hair, and taking out laundry. STV’s normally help feed some of the younger kids during meal times to help the nannies. Each day at 9am and 7pm is prayer and signing time with the nannies and children. We highly encourage all volunteers to participate in these times. Most days STV’s will do one on one time with the children in the morning and group activities with them in the afternoons. You will also help distribute snacks. You may also be asked to help with other projects such as sanitizing toys, organizing the playroom, or assisting long term staff as needed. Above everything you are just there to love on the babies!
If child care is not your thing we can help assign you with a work project that helps take care of our compound!
Do you Have Work Projects in Addition to Child Care?
There is always maintenance and projects that need to be done around the compound. If you are interested in one of these please either let a long term staff member or our volunteer coordinator know and we can have something lined up for you! These tasks can range from painting, welding, sidewalk pouring, shelf building, etc. We will never ask you to do something that is not in your skill set or is above and beyond what you are physically capable of doing.
Do I Have to Have a Baby Sleep in My Room?
No. If you are uncomfortable or unable to have a baby in your room at night, please don’t hesitate to tell a long term staff member or our volunteer coordinator before you come down. We realize that not everyone can do this, but we appreciate those who can.
Do I Need Malaria Pills or Certain Vaccinations?
This is up to you. COTP does not require you to have any of these to volunteer with us. We recommend talking to a travel nurse/doctor and getting their opinion on what you should do!
What is the Application Process Like?
Click here for more information on the application process.
How will I get there?
Most of our volunteers fly direct into Cap Haitian from Florida using IBC Travel (ibctravel.com). IBC flies out of both Miami and Fort Lauderdale. If you are coming from other parts of the US or Canada, you would need to book separate flight into FL the night prior to your IBC flight (which leaves early in the morning) and either stay in a hotel or in the airport overnight.
Can I Email Home?
COTP has a computer available for short term volunteers which you can use to keep family and friends informed of your experiences. However we have a very limited amount of download allowance and once it runs out its gone for 24 hours from the time it goes over. COTP Staff uses the internet all day for work related purposes and it’s a huge set back when it runs out. For this reason Facebook, Youtube, and other such websites are NOT allowed. We ask that this computer be only for emailing home and not searching the web. Please plan to use email to communicate with family and not Facebook messaging!
What is the Dress Code?
The Dress code is similar to what you would wear to a church camp. No clothing with inappropriate messages, short shorts, or spaghetti strapes. Tank tops are ok on the compound, but when you go outside the gate you need to wear something that covers your shoulders. Girls need to wear a skirt when they go in town. If you want to bring a nice set of clothes you can wear them to a local church!
Who Will Pick Me up at the Airport?
One of our long term staff members will pick you up at the airport and will be waiting for you when you get through with customs. Our volunteer coordinator will give you our directors phone number in case you have any problems so that you have someone to get a hold of. We don’t expect this to be an issue, but it’s always good to be prepared!
How Long Can I stay for?
Our volunteers are allowed to stay for any amount of time they are available. We have some people who only come for a few days, and others who stay up to 6 months or longer. Just know that how ever long you stay for, it wont be enough and you won’t be ready to leave! Feel free to contact our volunteer coordinator for more information on dates available!
How Much Does it Cost?
The suggested donation to stay at COTP is $150 USD per person per week for anyone staying under 6 months. For volunteers staying 6 months or longer, the suggested donation is $100 per week per person. If you have any questions feel free to email our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Much Extra Money Should I bring?
All of your expenses are covered by COTP. However if you want to bring a little extra cash for souveigners or a trip to the Citadel or beach you are welcome to do so. We have a lady that comes to our gate with items to buy. Not every group has the opportunity to go to these locations, but we make an effort to get as many people there as possible. It depends on what your interests are and how long you are staying. If your only here for a few days it makes in more difficult.
What Should/Shouldn’t I Bring?
COTP provides all of your meals, however it is a good idea to bring some snacks as our meal times are different than what most people are used to. You should also bring your own bath towel as we are always short on these. Most people bring their cameras and chargers to take pictures with the kids. We recommend leaving other technology at home (or in your bag if you want it for the flight) so that you can focus on the children and projects in Haiti. Some nights are hot, if you want a fan to sleep with you can bring your own small battery operated one.
Most of our beds have mosquito nets, so you don’t need to purchase your own. We also provide sheets and other bedding.
If you are interested in bringing donations for COTP please contact our volunteer coordinator and they can tell you what our current needs are.
Where is COTP located?
COTP is in a rural village about 40 minutes outside of Cap Haitien. The village we are in is called Lagossette and has about 150 people that live there!
Do I need a Passport or Visa?
Yes you need to have a passport but you don’t need to have a visa to enter or leave the country.
What if I don’t Speak Creole?
Speaking Creole is not necessary for our short term volunteers. All of our long term staff know Creole and can help you communicate with the Haitian Staff. Many of our nannies will understand basic English when you talk to them, but they often don’t speak back as they are nervous. However, we do recommend that you learn a few basic phrases before you come down. A good book for doing so is Creole Made Easy, which can be purchased on Amazon.com.