Does HHMM provide a phone number in case of emergencies?
The phone number of the retreat center or hotel will be provided to you in your missionary packet. Your family members or friends will be able to contact with you via international operator; the country code, and the city code. The number can be dialed directly without an operator using AT&T. This is most likely the case on other carriers as well.
What type of identification will I need?
You will need your passport to travel, but please prepare well in advance. Make sure your passport does not expire within 6 months of your trip. People have been prevented from boarding a plane if their passport expires within 6 months of leaving the US. It’s recommended taking a photo of your passport on your cell phone as well as making 2 copies of the document. Put one in your suitcase, and leave one with family members. It’s also recommended that you bring a second form of identification, such as your driver’s license. These additional documents could help expedite your return to the US if you did lose your passport. It is recommended that you keep your passport in your possession at all times.
The electricity is 110v. The electrical outlets are like ours. You can charge cell phones, use hairdryers, curling irons, electric razors, etc. However, if you have other electronic devices with three prongs you need to bring a connector.
What about the food?
The food at our place of lodging is prepared very carefully for us and is usually very good. You might want to bring some snacks such as granola bars, trail mix, dry fruits, etc. since the meal times are 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7p.m. When eating outside the lodging facilities, it is recommended that you do not eat anything that isn’t cooked, such as salad, fruits, and vegetables. Purchasing food from street vendor is not advisable. Before, during or after a mission if you choose to eat at a local restaurant we cannot guarantee food safety.
What if I get an upset stomach and/or diarrhea?
You may want to start taking Pepto-Bismol tablets the day of departure for prophylaxis. And bring Pepto-Bismol, odorless Garlic caps or Cipro for possible diarrhea at the mission site. Also, it is recommended that you start taking B complex, four weeks before trip to keep mosquitoes away. For those affected by altitude check with your physician and come prepared.
Do we need to bring linens?
The retreat centers or hotels provide clean sheets, a bath towel, and blankets where the weather is cooler. It is recommended that you bringing wash clothes.
Why do we carry the medicines with us?
Unfortunately, we haven't found multivitamins and prescription medicines like oral antibiotics less expansive anywhere outside the United States. The bulk order is placed based on the local needs and for the children to get multivitamins. This is the reason HHMM asks each missionary to help carrying 10-15 lbs. of medications and/or supplies in their suitcase. It is advisable to carry a suitcase of 50 lbs., 1 carry on, and a backpack or handbag. Medicines are shipped to the missionaries ahead of time and do have to be carried except to San Salvador and Santiago Texacuangos, El Salvador.
Is the local transportation included?
The local ground transportation has been paid for with your mission fee (as long as you stay with the team). If you arrive later or leave earlier/later than the team you are responsible for the additional expense.
Do we need to bring money?
All your transportation and meals at the retreat center or hotel is included with your mission fee. The only cash you need to bring is for food in the airports or for souvenirs. We normally plan to take a short trip to visit an outdoor market with interesting souvenirs and gifts after each mission.
Do I need to exchange money?
You can exchange currencies once you get to the Airport. You can use U.S. dollars and credit cards in city restaurants and at International airports. Your credit card should have a chip in it to be sure it will be accepted everywhere. We recommend you bring about $100 or more - One word of caution - bring $20 bills (or smaller) and be sure they are clean, unmarked and not torn. Most vendors are trained to check for counterfeit bills and tend to reject any that are not in good shape! U.S. currency does not have to be exchanged in El Salvador.
What do I pack?
Bring a light jacket or sweater. It can be a little cool in the mornings and evenings. It is expected that we are conservative/modest in our dress, especially at Mass and when we go to the clinics to work. It is important for the missionaries to set a good example of modesty, therefore, it is not considered appropriate for women to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts during the week. For Mass at the parish pants, capris, jeans without holes or rips, and skirts are appropriate for women. Jeans or slacks are fine for the men. Sunday Mass is normally held at the local sponsor Parish. On Sunday you have the option of wearing a nice dress for the Retreat and Mass, it is also appropriate to wear your HHMM team T-shirts. If clinic is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, you may wear scrubs.
What else can I bring?
Bring copies of religious coloring book pages and crayons, small stuffed animals, small toys, and un-inflated balls.
What would I do if my luggage doesn't make it with my flight?
Pack a set of clothes, etc. in your carry on, just in case.
Will our personal belongings be safe?
Your personal items will be safe in your rooms at the lodging place. We highly recommend carrying your passport with you at all times. When doing home visits a small backpack that you do not need to take off or a “fanny pack” allows you to keep your hands free. Always be alert to your surroundings and belongings!
What about safety?
Generally, we are safe while we stay in our places of lodging, we have wonderful people from the local sponsoring parish and/or from our local ground teams that watch out for us even without us knowing it. We do ask you to never venture out from the lodging place or the clinics by yourself or in small groups without the Medical Director's knowledge or someone from our local organizers with you.
What vaccinations will I need?
The CDC recommends you are current on all of your routine vaccines prior to traveling out of the country. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, and polio vaccine. The CDC suggests, and HHMM strongly encourages you to get the Hepatitis A vaccine (two doses given 6 months apart) since Hepatitis A is contracted through contaminated food or water. Please review schedules for vaccinations and guidelines for travel on the CDC.gov website.
What about the water?
Don’t drink the water from the faucet or even let it cross your lips. Brush your teeth and rinse your toothbrush with bottled water. Bring an extra toothbrush in case you put yours under the faucet to rinse it without thinking. There will be big bottles/jugs with water for us to refill our personal bottles at the place of lodging and the clinics.
Will we have access to WI-FI?
Generally, WI-FI is available. It is slower when everyone is accessing it, especially in the evenings. Be sure to turn off your cellular data when you leave the US unless you have purchased an International Data Plan for your cell phone. Check with your carrier for information on international phone calls.
What is the weather like?
We are relatively close to the equator, so there is a huge change in temperature. The days will be in the upper 70s and the nights will be in the low 60s. Sunglasses, sunscreen and hats are highly recommended when outside during the day.
Why is the spiritual aspect important?
The core missionaries of each team are practicing Catholics. They foment the teamwork, we want to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter. Our mission is to treat, educate, and evangelize, so in order to accomplish that we must pray and worship together. We attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together. We follow the teachings of the Church, and we share our faith.
Do I need to bring something else?
Bring flip-flops for the shower, toiletries, earplugs, etc.
If you have other questions, please contact Gloria Madrigal at [email protected].