frequently asked questions

Gerneral Questions

What is the age requirement for expeditions?


Our expeditions are best suited for anyone 12 and older. If you are under the age of 18, you will need to have a parent or other supervising adult accompany you. This is a great experience for families!




What language is spoken in Haiti?


Haitian Creole and French Haitian Creol is a French-based creole language spoken by 9.6–12 million people worldwide, and the only language of most Haitians. It is a creole language based largely on 18th century French with influences from Portuguese, Spanish, English, Taíno, and West African languages. Haitian Creole emerged from contact between French settlers and African slaves during the Atlantic slave trade in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Haitians are the largest creole-speaking community in the world. Haitian Creole should not be confused with Haitian French, which is a variety of French spoken in Haiti. *please note that you will have an interpreter with you at all times so you will not have a problem communicating.




Will I have cell service in Haiti?


Make sure to check with your phone company’s international plans to avoid large fees if you plan to use your phone. You can also download an app called Whatsapp to make calls, send texts, and photos free internationally over the internet. If you do not have an international plan you will want to only use this app when you are in wifi to avoid fees.




What should I pack?


You will be given a packing list upon registration.




What is the bathroom situation like?


Most public places have running water and flushing toilets as will the guesthouse where we stay.




Is there a deadline for signing up for an expedition


There is no deadline. But, once an expedition is full, you will no longer be able to register, so don't delay!




How often do you have expeditions?


Typically we offer 4 expeditions per year; one in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. The schedule varies from year to year, based on demand so please check the website for current postings.




What types of things will I be doing on an expediton?


Most of our days will be spent with the youth doing projects alongside them that they've identified and planned. There will also be workshops put on by the youth where they will be teaching about their culture, history, language, and even some fun activities. We will also spend one full day going on an excursion to visit some of the beauty of Haiti such as the beach or a waterfall.




Where in Haiti do the expeditions take place?


The expeditions take place just outside of Port au Prince, Haiti




How will I communicate if I do not speak the language?


You will have an interpreter with you at all times, so communication will not be a problem. Many of the youth in the Empowering the One program speak English and are anxious to have opporutnities to practice their English. The youth in the program will also be teaching you basic Creole words and phrases which is generally the highlight of the expedition.





Financial

What is the cost of an expedition?


The registration for an expedition is $1500 plus your airfare. The registration fee covers your in country lodging, meals, transportation, interpreter, and project/program costs. ​Most of the cost is considered a tax deductible donation. You will be responsible for snacks, tips, and souvenirs. We will go to the grocery store so you can stock up on items you would want for snacks or you can bring them from home.




How much cash should I bring?


You will want to bring some cash for emergency purposes, tips and small purchases. Please bring mostly smaller bills that look new with no markings or rips. We recommend each person travel with a credit card and bring at least $150 in cash. If you want nice souvenirs you will want to bring more. Your VISA should be accepted at grocery stores and restaurants but sometimes it is inexplicably rejected. Remember to call your credit card company and let them know you will be traveling so they don’t put a hold on your card. Bring enough cash to cover you in case your card doesn’t work.




Will I be able to use a debit card or credit card?


Your VISA should be accepted at grocery stores and restaurants but sometimes it is inexplicably rejected. Remember to call your credit card company and let them know you will be traveling so they don’t put a hold on your card. Bring enough cash to cover you in case your card doesn’t work.




Will I be able to exchange my money in Haiti?


Yes, though the majority of businesses and individuals selling something in Haiti will accept U.S. Dollars. The Haitian Gourde (HTG) is the official currency of Haiti. You can exchange $1 for about 60 HTG. Five gourdes is often referred to as a "Haitian dollar".




Do you have payment plans?


At this time we do not have payment plans. You can place a $500 non-refundable deposit to save your place on the expedition. The remainder of the balance is due 30 days before the expedition. Most of our volunteers raise money to help them cover the cost of the trip!




What other expenses should I plan for?


Passport, visa ($10 upon arrival in Haiti), any vaccinations you choose to get, travel medications, souvenirs, laundry services (optional), snacks, or tips.




Can I fundraise for myself to go on an expediton?


Yes! We can provide a sponsor letter which you can give to friends, family, businesses and co-workers. Empowering the One is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit corporation. All donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. 100% of the money raised in your behalf goes towards your trip costs. Some volunteers have held garage sales, car washes, service auctions, and fun runs to cover trip costs. Others have received funds from local Rotary, Lions, Kiwanas and other service clubs.





Safety

Is it safe?


We will plan well and work together to minimize risk to our volunteer group. Safety is the responsibility of each and every volunteer. Empowering The One requests that all volunteers be aware of, and adhere to, the following advisories and conditions: 1) Personal awareness that travel in a foreign country has inherent risks. Volunteers may experience physical, psychological, and emotional stress. 2) Volunteers represent Empowering The One at all times while deployed and must do so in a compassionate and professional manner. Volunteers shall make mature decisions regarding their safety at all times. Volunteering in Haiti is not a vacation or tour. We will be working towards specific goals on each trip. 3) Volunteers shall not leave the Empowering The One volunteer group at any time for unescorted or unapproved trips. Volunteers shall use approved drivers for escorts. The buddy system should be practiced at all times. 4) No Empowering The One volunteer will be outside the designated lodging at night without the express permission of the Empowering The One team leader. Nighttime can be extremely dangerous in any foreign country. 5) Volunteers should be aware that they must follow the directions of the team leader at all times. Failure to follow the directions of the team leader or failure to follow security guidelines will result in the volunteer being asked to leave on the next transportation available to depart the country. The volunteer will be responsible for any and all associated fees with this action.





Housing

Do I need an adapter for electrical outlets?


No. However, please be aware that electricity is not always available depending on the time of the day.




Where will we be sleeping?


Expedition teams will be staying in a Guest House. Guest houses are unlike hotels in that rooms typically have bunk beds and rooms are sometimes divided by gender depending on the group. Most guest houses have restrooms with flushing toilets and showers within the room. Occasionally, a guest house may have a common restroom. Guest Houses typically provide meals if requested. Empowering The One has several Guest Homes that they use. Each are safe and clean and will add to your experience in Haiti.





Health

What shots are needed before I come?


Check with your doctor or a travel clinic for the latest recommendations for travel to Haiti. All travel websites recommend that travelers to Haiti get a prescription for an antimalarial drug which you start taking 1-2 weeks before the trip and continue to take for 4 weeks following departure. You can often get this medication from your regular doctor.




Do you cater to special diets?


A typical Haitian meal is rice and beans, sometimes meat and veggies. You will want to bring a filtered water bottle​ (such as LifeStraw) to purify your drinking water throughout your trip when you are not at the guesthouse. The water that comes through the pipes in the sinks and the shower is not safe to drink. Do not drink it or brush your teeth with it. Please give us advance notice if you have a special diet we need to plan around. We will go to the grocery store so you can stock up on items you would want for snacks or you can bring them from home.





Travel

Will I need a passport?


Yes, anytime you are traveling outside your home country, you will need to travel with a passport. For instructions on how to get a passport visit this website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/how-to-apply.html




Will I need to get a visa?


You will not need to obtain a visa to Haiti before you travel. Once you land in Haiti, you will be required to purchase a $10 tourist visa. Please have $10 USD ready once you get off your plane.




What will TSA allow on the plane and through customs?


We recommend that you contact TSA if you have any questions about specific items. You can call them at (866) 289-9673 or check their website at: www.tsa.gov/travel




What airport will I fly into?


You will fly into the Port Au Prince, Haiti airport. The airport code is PAP.





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Empowering the One is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit recognized by the IRS, all donations to Empowering the One are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS regulations.

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