The Trip Archives | Mission Direct

Where will we stay in country?

It is important to us that you get a good night’s sleep as the schedule, at times, can be busy. We look for good quality, clean and appropriate accommodation.  Depending on which country you visit, it can vary from a modern hotel with facilities, to a basic guest house. On occasions there may be no running or hot water and you may find showers are just a bucket of warm water and a jug! At times there may be limited electricity too.  If the standard of accommodation is important to you, you may wish to discuss which trips would be suitable for you with our volunteer managers on 01582 720056.

When in transit, we try to put married couples together but it may not be possible for a night or two. Where possible we will also try and accommodate children (18 and under) with parents, where requested.

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.

Can I opt out of prayer times, church visits or other Christian activities during the trip?

Mission Direct is a Christian charity and there are some elements of the trips which incorporate this. However, we are committed to ensuring that are trips are accessible and fully inclusive of anyone and everyone, from differing faiths to those who don’t follow a faith.

As a team, we meet each morning to discuss the day, and as part of this we pray as well as before meals and at other times during the day. We are often asked to attend the community’s church services as guest too. These are an integral part of building relationships, as well as an important part of the trip and although you do not have to be a Christian yourself to join a team, we do ask you to join us as a part of the team, be open minded and tolerant of these practices. We will not embarrass you or ask you to pray out loud, as we are sensitive to the fact that everyone is in a different place on their personal spiritual journey. 

Non-Christians who have come with us are often surprised how inclusive and enjoyable these experiences are, often quite different from what they expected. If you are bringing a complete non-faith team, we can create bespoke options which remove some of the faith-based practices. Please contact us.

Can I make personal visits to friends, family, sponsored children or plan my own visits during the trip?

You are joining a team. We want work together, laugh together, cry together, pray together and stay together. If you are missing from the team, the team is missing you and you are missing the team’s experiences. Therefore we ask you not to make arrangements for personal visits and meetings during the trip. However we are happy to change your personal flight so that you can make use of your time in the country to visit friends, family, sponsored children or personal visits outside the trip dates.

Are any locations dangerous?

No. We undertake clear health and safety risk assessments. We would never take you if we believed there was any foreseeable danger and we regularly check with the Foreign Office for the latest travel advice. Please contact us if you have any concerns at any time leading up to the trip or contact your volunteer manager.

Any advice on smoking and drinking?

We aim to be sensitive to all people, including the Mission Direct team members and the local community. We recognise that we are ‘guests’ in the countries we visit.  They will have a different culture and we need to be respectful of their differing expectations and views. We hope most of our volunteers will be able to refrain from smoking. However, for those that do smoke, we ask for the utmost discretion and to discuss where best to do it with our in-country staff.

Equally we are sensitive about drinking alcohol in some countries. You will find many Christians in Africa, for instance, struggle with a culture that accepts drinking alcohol in moderation. If in doubt it is best to go for soft drinks, especially in the company of Christians from overseas. Our in-country staff will give you more specific advice on these matters depending on where you are visiting.

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.

Can I bring a group or take a whole team?

Yes – see more information on group bookings.

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