Who can volunteer?
Medical teams consist of doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, medical residents, laboratory personnel, and pharmacists. Medical students are welcome and encouraged but would most likely fill a role of a non-medical volunteer. Specialties that would likely be of most use include: dentistry, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmologists/optometrists, internal medicine, family practice, and emergency medicine.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for people who are willing to work hard, be flexible, have fun, and share their talents with the team and the people of Grand-Bois. In exchange, volunteers often enjoy some of the most rewarding and personally fulfilling weeks of their lives by serving an extremely resilient and gracious population. Medical volunteers often comment that they enjoy practicing medicine without the pressures and constraints of paperwork, quotas, and managed care policies. In addition, all volunteers work very closely on certain tasks such as unpacking and distribution of supplies, inventories, and sometimes even construction projects or organization of the clinic.
Volunteers are needed in the areas of Education, Economics, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine as well as general “good spirits” who are interested in establishing friendships and sharing cultural differences with the residents of Grand-Bois.
Can I volunteer in the United States?
Certainly. Medical volunteers in the U.S. work year-round to plan and prepare for mission trips. A medical committee composed of doctors, dentists, public health specialists, pharmacists, and laboratory specialists meets bi-monthly to discuss pertinent developments. Examples of stateside activities include:
- Solicitation of donations from hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and pharmaceutical companies
- Working on fundraising events
- Planning and implementation of medical programs at the clinic
- Writing of grants to further educational and financial resources
- Integration of programs from other committees, such as Gift of Water
- Selection and packaging of medications and supplies for mission trips
Is it safe?
Traveling in Haiti, as in any foreign country, is not without risks. Political events in Haiti lead some to shy away from volunteerism in this beautiful yet challenged country. Although intermittent upheaval occurs occasionally in Port-au-Prince, such upheaval occurs less frequently in the remote, typically peaceful mountainous region where the Health Center is located.
What personal preparation will I need for a trip?
Haiti is endemic for several tropical diseases, including typhoid, hepatitis A, and malaria. All medical volunteers going on mission trips are encouraged to visit their local travel medicine clinic for appropriate vaccination practices. Please thoroughly review all travel information and Immunization & Medication Recommendations for an overview of all recommended vaccines and medications.
If I go on a trip, will I have to speak Haitian Creole?
No. Translators are used for medical providers, although many longstanding volunteers have learned basic communication phrases that further enrich their experiences. Many of the Haitians with whom we work speak French, as well as some English and Spanish.
Knowing the language and being able to communicate with locals certainly enhances any trip. ServeHAITI currently has a group account with Haiti Hub, so you can get a subscription at a discounted rate. Take the next step in learning Haitian Creole with this interactive, online tool by signing up today. Visit http://www.haitihub.com and use ServeHAITI’s group code: 166H2.