Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a valid passport?
a) Yes. If you don’t already have a valid passport, you may obtain one by picking up the forms at certain branches of the U.S. Post Office or go online to https://travel.state.gov. Those with US, Canadian and British passports don't need a visa but people from other countries should check with the Jamaican High Commission. Here is a link to a listing of who needs visas for Jamaica.
b) Passports typically take six weeks to process.
c) Photocopy all important documents and keep them in a hidden place separate from the originals. Leave another copy at home with someone you can easily get in contact with while you are abroad.
2. What does the cost of the trip include?
The cost of the land package includes accommodations, ground transportation and meals during the trip. Domestic and international airfare will be the volunteer’s responsibility.
3. Where will we stay?
Jamaica Missions USA has special lodging arrangements in the parishes we visit. Depending upon your destination, your quarters will be either a comfortable retreat center or a clean, comfortable hotel. The cost of the trip includes sharing a room. If you desire private accommodations, there is an additional cost.
4. Where will we eat?
Meals include breakfast and dinners in your hotel or at a restaurant nearby. Lunch is typically served at the Jamaica Missions USA facility in the parish you are visiting. A special menu may be arranged for those with dietary restrictions.
5. What kind of transportation is provided?
Throughout your trip, you will travel in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus, driven by an experienced Jamaica Missions USA driver.
6. What should I pack?
We strongly suggest packing one carry-on bag plus one small tote bag/back pack to avoid any delays at the airports. Please make sure to follow the zip lock bag rules for liquids.There is usually a saving in air fare if luggage is packed as carry-on rather than checked when possible. In all cases medical prescriptions should be packed in carry-on luggage.
7. What kind of clothing should I bring?
Out of respect for the local culture, we dress modestly on our trips. Shorts and sleeve-less tops (tank tops) are NOT allowed for clinics, but may be worn later in the evening. Since most of the parishes are tropical in climate, it’s advisable to wear lightweight shirts and pants and closed-toe shoes during the day. Scrubs and closed-toe shoes are the only allowed clothing at all clinics.
8. What about my safety?
You will be visiting projects that are operated by the Ministry of Health or the missionaries we help. A representative from our U.S. headquarters will accompany the group. A special in-country coordinator and translator will be responsible for overseeing the trip and keeping abreast of any news that could affect your visit. Should any developments occur during your trip that warrant concern, every precaution is taken to ensure your safety. Our first priority will always be your well-being.
9. What about physicals, prescriptions and vaccinations?
a) You can consult with your doctor or go to the website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov to get advice on what (if any) vaccinations are needed while abroad. Note that our itinerary does not include any overnight stays in a rural area. The group is not out before dawn or after dusk. Jamaica Missions USA does not require any immunizations.
b) If you have glasses or contact lenses, bring along an extra pair. If you have prescription medication, make sure you bring enough to last during your time abroad. Make sure to carry the correctly labeled containers so it won’t be mistaken for illegal drugs.
10. Is insurance provided?
Jamaica Missions USA will provide an emergency medical evacuation insurance while traveling overseas. All other coverage, health and accident, will be covered by each volunteer.
11. How much money to bring?
United States currency is acceptable at most tourist shops, hotels and airports. You will obtain the best rate of exchange by using a Visa/MasterCard for any purchase in the local country you are visiting. You should also bring some cash in small denominations, for any local tipping or small purchases. If you pay in cash, you will receive change in the local currency.
12. What if I don't speak the language?
The national language in Jamaica is English. Your group leader or the in-country representative will be able to translate local dialects, if needed. You can always ask the translator to teach you a few basic phrases. Hugs, smiles and laughter break down any possible language barriers.
13. Are there emergency contact numbers?
Yes, emergency contact numbers and the hotel/retreat center phone number will be provided to you 1-2 weeks before the departure date.
14. Will there be prayer during the trip?
Prayer and reflection are an important part of the mission experience. During your visits, you may participate in prayers with the highly spiritual Jamaicans.
15. Is my mission trip payment tax-deductible?
All our mission trips are hands-on experiences. Additionally, your journey may contain a significant amount of work in service to the poor. This service may be realized in the building of houses, the feeding of the hungry, the care of children and other activities that will bring love and hope to those who desperately need it. The expenses paid to attend your mission trip may be tax-deductible under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Please consult your accountant or tax advisor for more information.
16. Jamaica Facts
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 4,244 square miles in area, lies about 90 miles south of Cuba, and 120 miles west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Jamaica is the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Over 55% of Jamaica’s terrain can be described as hilly or mountainous. This feature of its landscape and its extensive network of rivers give Jamaica a distinct beauty for which it is world famous. The entire island may be considered a watershed based on its topography and hydrology.
Population: 2.72 million (2014)
Independence: August 6, 1962
Largest city: Kingston
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
National Anthem: "Jamaica, Land We Love"
Royal Anthem: "God Save The Queen"
Where we Serve:
Jamaica Missions USA currently concentrates its missions in the parish of St. Elizabeth. The parish of St. Elizabeth is located on the southern side of Jamaica and extends 468 square miles. The parish has an estimated population of 151,887 and the economy is largely supported by agriculture. The parish is served by one public type C Hospital, located in the Parish capital-Black River and 25 health centers across the parish-provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH). The targeted communities are very rural and are served by type I & II health centers. In most cases, patients travel long distances to acquire necessary medical attention.
The targeted communities are rural towns and rarely visited by non-governmental organizations comprised of General Practitioners and Dentists. These centers do not provide any dental care and some patients wait all year round for the JMUSA Dental Team for extractions.
The rural communities served by JMUSA in St. Elizabeth Parish include: Malvern, Port Sea, Accompong, Ginger Hill, Springfield, Elderslie, Prospect and Aberdeen, among others.
For more information contact us at (404) 665-6725 or firstname.lastname@example.org