Before the Trip Archives | Mission Direct

How much spending money should I bring?

This is difficult to answer and depends on your personal circumstances and preferences.  The only things you really need additional cash for are buying souvenirs, certain drinks and for giving away.

At the end of your trip, we will provide you with a form that helps you consider if you wish to make any additional donations to any of the partners you have met on your journey.  Often volunteers are moved by one thing or another and want to contribute in a sensitive way, facilitated by our staff.  You may want to have some cash for this or simply make a pledge to give it or raise it on your return.

What should I wear on my trip?

Different countries and cultures have different views about what is and is not acceptable to wear. We ask that all volunteers respect these sensitivities in their choice of clothing. You will be given detailed information about the dress code for your trip in your country handbook, and the topic will be discussed on your orientation day.

In general cool, comfortable, loose fitting clothing is advisable. Remember you may be doing such practical – and messy – tasks as painting and building, and so dress accordingly. Do not buy new clothes; rather we recommend you pack old ones you will not miss. Some people acquire appropriate clothing from their local charity shops. Many volunteers leave much of their clothing behind for the local community.
Your feet must always be fully covered on the work site, while open shoes or sandals are acceptable at other times. In some countries, jumpers may be needed in the evenings. You will be advised about expected temperatures for your trip, use your common sense and pack accordingly.

Do I need a visa?

It depends on the country. We sort the cost of visas and departure taxes within the contribution and will advise what is needed for each country.  Mission Direct will apply for your visa if required. For Sierra Leone we will advise you in good time and will need your passport in advance.

How can I raise the money?

In our surveys we found that about 40% cite the concern over raising the money as a reason not to come.  This is a pity as time and time again, when people decide to come on a Mission Direct trip, they discover how remarkably easy it is to raise the necessary money.

Please don’t let the fear of not having enough money stop you from committing to come.  We have developed an outstanding fundraising toolkit, complete with numerous fundraising tips. You can receive a copy by contacting us or registering for a free downloaded copy.

Do I need a reference?

On our application form, we ask for a church leader’s signature because we hope this will help you to engage your church family in getting behind you in this way. On rare occasions, a church leader may have concerns and this process will facilitate any necessary discussion.

If you are not a Christian or in a church, we ask that you provide a simple reference from someone like an employer or friend who knows you well.

What medications should I bring?

Mission Direct has a first aid kit on site at all times but it cannot cover all eventualities. Please ensure that you bring extra supplies of any medications you are taking as these will not be available locally. We expect volunteers to bring their own medication for ailments such as stomach upsets, diarrhoea, colds and headaches. Some choose to leave these supplies in country at the end of their trip.

When you buy anti-mosquito spray or roll on, ask the pharmacist about sprays containing Deet which tend to be more effective.

We recommend that you consult your GP before applying if you have any significant health issues. You are also welcome to ring and ask questions on 01582 720056. Your application form asks for medical details and if we have any questions we will contact you – in some circumstances we may ask for fitness to travel certificate from your GP. Our overseas staff will advise you on keeping healthy – both physically and spiritually. Please come if you are healthy, no matter how old you are.

What vaccinations do I need? What medications should I bring?

Vaccination requirements vary from country to country and as each person is different, and may face varying health issues, we will not provide specific advice. We strongly recommend that you seek the advice from your doctor or health clinic as soon as possible. Some doctors offer injections free when they hear what you are doing, others charge.

Yellow fever vaccination is a legal requirement for some countries and your yellow fever certificate may have to be shown to the immigration officials to gain entry. It is also vital that you take anti-malaria advice from your doctor and where appropriate, bring the prophylaxis with you.

What is an orientation day and why is it important to attend?

This is a day enabling you to get personal answers to any question and provide appropriate expectations. You will get to know your fellow team members, learn in detail about the trip and how to prepare for it. It is an integral part of the volunteering ‘package’ helping you to prepare both practically and emotionally for the trip you are about to go on. Amongst other things it helps in the following ways:

  • It allows you to meet and bond with your team, preparing you to work together more effectively with our partners and one another.
  • We provide you with a detailed handbook covering all aspects of the trip.
  • It helps volunteers to come with appropriate expectations of the trip and what they will be doing.
  • You will learn more about how to raise further money for your trip, and discover how your fellow volunteers have fundraised.
  • You will learn the practical issues, from what to pack, baggage allowances and airport details.
  • We provide the latest details about the project you will be working on and what we hope you will be able to do.

As we share vital details, we find those few who do not attend really miss out and often find acclimatising at the start of their trip harder. Whilst we accept there are sometimes diary clashes, please, if at all possible, give this your highest priority to attend. The orientation day will be held on a Saturday in Luton and we provide lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

Are there any time commitments beyond the 2 week trip?

You are requested to join us at an orientation day, after the trip we hold a reunion day.

If you feel you want to do more, you could always consider joining us for two or more teams as overseas staff. See our vacancies page for more details.

Why should I join a Mission Direct trip?

All-inclusive mission – We arrange everything for you: Return flights, visas, insurance, accommodation and more. Before you go we also brief you thoroughly about your trip on an orientation day.

No specialist skills required – or superhuman strength! We work with local builders and tradesmen, so ask you to just come willing to lend a hand. If you have any specific skill you would like to utilise, please contact us.

You can watch every penny make a difference – Once you’ve raised you trip contribution, which is easier than you would think, all further money you raise goes direct to the project and the people – and you’ll be there to see it being put into action.

See the lasting impact your work has made – Imagine the smiles of a family moving from the slums into a home that you have helped to build, or a child able to attend school without walking miles each day. The gratitude of the people you go out to support will overwhelm you, and we’ll keep you update on the project once yo’re home so you can see it through to completion.

Change your life – As one volunteer put it: “I thought I was going overseas to give to others; in fact, they gave back so much more to me.”

Share your faith with actions as well as words – During projects we regularly show The Jesus Film, pray for the sick and invite people to discover Christ for themselves. We are living out the words of Jesus, serving others in love.

Joining a Mission Direct team will not only allow you to make a direct personal impact upon the lives of the vulnerable, it is likely to alter your whole outlook on life. Below are just a few comments from former volunteers providing insight:

  • “I had a sense that God was calling me to go. I did not have any money but knew He would provide and He did!”
  • “I was bored with holidays on the beach with no purpose; I wanted to do something that helped someone. Mission Direct not only enabled me in this, but the insights I gained will always be with me”.
  • “I’m retired and have time on my hands and I was looking for something to do with my time that mattered.”
  • It’s been so nice to get to closely know such a wide variety of people.
  • “I wanted to take my skills overseas to people who desperately need them” (Teaching, I.T and Medical volunteers)
  • The afternoon visits with the home-based care teams are what stuck. That’s when I realised the meaning of “Mission Direct”.

A cry has gone out to “make poverty history” and there are many ways to help make this a reality. Our focus is on the people behind the statistics. We offer you the chance to make a visible and significant difference to one specific community. And by meeting and serving real people, you have a chance to be transformed yourself.

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