Going to Haiti- sharing thoughts from our last trip

1) The airport.

You will exit the plane into a tunnel and from there to a bus to take you to the
main terminal. Use this time to get your $1 bills in a outside pocket.

Suitcases and bags are pulled off the carousel. Mark your bags with a
distinctive ribbon or something so you can easily spot it in the lines of
luggage piled around the baggage claim area.

Be prepared for folks to grab your suitcase, carry it a few feet and hand it off
to someone else.. either prepare to be growly and gruff or to tip each handler.
(I chose plan B and it saved a lot of stress IMO)

Exit the baggage area to a small holding area where you will be greeted by
baggage carriers in bright uniform shirts. At this point we had a bit of a
scuffle for who was going to carry our bags but it all ended up OK.

If you hold back a little bit in the baggage area a messenger from NLL will be
there to take you to the actual NLL rep. who has to wait in the parking lot at
the end of a long covered walk way.

I tipped each porter a dollar.

Follow the guy with a piece of paper with NLL on it to the end of the covered
walkway where you will see a welcome NLL sign made of wood.. that's your safe
trip to your home for the next few days!

Be aware that children and adults both will be trying to get our attention on
the other side of the airport fencing.. they want money, baseball hats,
candy..anything.. ignore them.. go straight to the car. (I wish I'd have thought
to warn my son about this.. he was SO conflicted seeing a boy his own age asking
for his stuff.)

Meals are at 7 a.m. 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. If you chose to have meals at the house.
They are plentiful and delicious!
If you want soda either bring your own or bring $2 per soda. They have bottled
drinks in the fridge for sale.
There are huge bottles of safe drinking water in the water dispenser in the
Don't forget to take water up with you to brush your teeth with!
The water dispenser has a hot water feature for tea. Push the red button to the
There is a microwave.

I wish I had thought this out a bit better before leaving.
Next time I will take
$10 in $1 bills for the airport porters.
$ for tips for:
the house staff
the driver
the nannies
Leah the cook
Naomi the head of the cresche

I think I will take cards to write thank-you's in.

The guest house is clean, has fly screens on the windows, several beds to a room
and a crib if you are rooming in with your child.

Water is scarce so you are encouraged to take very short showers (Shower in the
evening when the water pressure is at it's best)
You are also encouraged to only flush solid waste when you use the toilet. It
takes some getting used to but..

#1 you're not done
#2 send it through

or yellow.. let it mellow
brown .. send it down..

Take hand sanitizer! You can even purchase body wash clothes in CVS.. I'm taking
those with me next time.

To Bring with you:

Things to take for your own use:

Hand sanitiser and wipes
Chlorox wipes (wish I'd just wiped down all the surfaces at the start of your
trip. The windows provide a good breeze through but also carry in dust)
Mosquito repellent (not too bad while we were there but we still made sure we
were covered when we went out)
Small box of clothes soap for the little hand washing you might need to do
Batteries and flash lights! (lights went off three times while we were there,
they come back quickly but it is pitch black when they go off. Also after 10 pm
you are encouraged to use flash lights only to save the generator.

If rooming in with a baby:
diaper bags to double bag poopy diapers
room scent
baby cold meds
nose suction bulb
nail clippers
cocoa butter... lots of it.. apply liberally
butt paste or desitin (we found the butt paste worked like a dream!)
bottles, sensitive formula, bibs, burp cloths
a cover gown.. next time I'm taking one of those nurse type gowns to protect my
clothes.. the babies spit up a lot and all of them have streaming colds)
baby crib deep pocketd sheets and waterproof bottom sheets
diappers onsies and sleepers.

The majority of Haitians speak creole..

Biki has a free creole program (search for it on google)
I took photos of the flash cards and made my own little carry along book.
Byki has an app for iPhone and Android.  You can download which lists you want

www.lightmessages.com has a series of creole books and CD's.
I have their cook book which is excellent but not their language books so can't
recommend them from experience. I'm getting a copy to take with me next time

Borders books has French flash cards for children that have the French and
English words on them.

The university of Kansas in Lawrence has a huge Haitian program. Online you can purchase an English - Creole dictionary and little short stories for children

Some of the house workers speak Spanish
To Bring to leave:

Here is a list of things from the NLL web site. If planning on taking medicines
take quantities that could be considered "for personal use"
If possible translate uses and dosages prior to leaving. We did not do this and
will do so before we travel next time.

Also note the typo in clothing.. it almost never gets below 700F.. I think they
meant 70 F LOL

Medicine : We need Imodium and antibiotics. Imodium is very expensive in Haiti.
We also can use vitamins for children.

œ Imodium

œ Antibiotics for children

œ Vitamins

Toiletry Needs :

œ Baby soap and shampoo, hair bands and clasps for the little girls, laundry

œ Ammens powder, pampers, cloth diapers, baby wipes

œ Shampoo for adults

œ Vaseline petroleum

œ Toothpaste

œ Soap bar

œ Towels (colored if possible).

Clothes for ages 0-14 (Boys and Girls): We desperately need more clothes (ONLY
SUMMER CLOTHES, please !).

œ Sheets (crib size and twin size), children's clothing (baby and older
child), Shorts

œ T-shirts

œ Underwear and Socks:

œ Dresses

œ Black shoes for church and ceremonies! (Very important and we do not have

œ Sandals and Sneakers

œ Flip flops (Please summer clothing only: it almost never gets below 700 F
in Haiti!)

Food :

The following are some of the items that we use most :

œ Baby cereal, soy and milk-based infant formula, lots of baby rice cereal.

œ Dried cereal, Oatmeal (I know someone who loves dried raisins and raisin
brand cereal J

œ Canned Tuna, Fish, Chicken and Ham/Meat. Please get it in cans as large as
possible! We feed 60 children at HFC + the NEW LIFE LINK children 3 times a day.
(Please no low fat/health foods. Rice, powdered milk, powered eggs, pasta,
peanut butter, jelly, beans, are not significantly more expensive in Haiti and
so it is preferable to collect meat and tuna cans above anything else.)

School Supplies :

œ children's toys

œ Children's and School books in FRENCH

œ Children's Backpacks

P. S. Please bring the above items as you come to Haiti. Do not send us
packages or boxes of clothing or food items. It costs too much money to get them
out of customs. It is not worth it.

US Embassy info.


this link takes you to the US Embassy site specific to Haiti.

This quote is taken from that site and contains important info. for US citizens
traveling to Haiti.

Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Embassy's website
the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs' website
www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings,
Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found. The U.S. Embassy
also encourages U.S. citizens to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," found at
http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html, which includes
valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. In
addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date
information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the
U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at

For emergencies involving American citizens, please contact the American
Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy's Consular Section, located at
Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti; telephone (509) 2-229-8000;
after hours emergency telephone (509) 2-229-8000; ACS Unit fax (509) 2-229-8027;
and e-mail at acspap@....

American Citizen Services Unit (ACS)
U.S. Embassy, Port-au-Prince
Blvd 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41
Tabarre, Haiti