When should I arrive?
You must arrive in Santiago on (or before) March 8, 2019. If you arrive before this date, you are responsible for your own accommodations until March 8.
Do I need special skills?
Special skills are not required for participation in the Service Program. Each project will involve a leadership team of volunteers with specialized knowledge in the project area. Project assignments will be based on a combination of volunteer interest, community needs, available space, and program logistics.
What languages are spoken in Batey Libertad?
Although the majority of the residents of Batey Libertad speak some Spanish, Haitian Creole is the first language for many members of the community. Some adults and small children, particularly those who have recently arrived from Haiti, have a limited command of Spanish. Primary school students are taught in Spanish. A few members of the community speak some English. We plan to have interpreters available who will be able to translate between English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
Are children allowed on the trip?
Families with children 10 and over are welcome and encouraged to attend. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children under 10 on the programand all youth 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult. All children under 13 must have a parent participating in the same service project(s) throughout the program.
What will the weather be like?
Santiago/Batey Libertad has a tropical climate. Average temperatures in March are in the high 80s/low 90s. Make sure you bring a hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, breathable clothes, umbrella and closed-toed shoes.
What will the working conditions in the community be like?
We anticipate that many projects will take place indoors, in the local elementary school, Yspaniola’s literacy center and other indoor facilities within the community. There will be no air conditioning, but spaces are well ventilated. Some projects will be conducted outside, but we will try to arrange for shade where possible. Water bottles and water stations with purified water will be provided. We plan to provide a group lunch, prepared by women in the community, outside under a tent. We will also have portable toilet facilities.
What will the accommodations be like?
We will be staying in Santiago, at the Hodelpa Garden Court Hotel, approximately an hour drive from Batey Libertad. We plan to use multiple 28-seater buses to transport us between Santiago and Batey Libertad. The roads are generally good. The hotel has modern facilities, air conditioning, wifi, a restaurant and bar, an outdoor swimming pool and an exercise room.
What is the cancelation policy?
Until December 1, 2018, the $500 deposit is refundable. Final payment is also due by December 1, 2018. After this date, the deposit and final payment are not refundable. We highly encourage the purchase of trip cancellation insurance!
Do I need a visa?
US citizens do not need a visa for tourist or business travel to the Dominican Republic. They will be required, however, to purchase a tourist card upon arrival at the airport. For additional details, visit the US Dept of State Travel section for the DR.
What shots do I need?
Please consult with your own physician and refer to the CDC website for more information.