Chome, Tanzania Mission Trip FAQs
Welcome to the team!
Glad you are going with us. If this is your first time to visit Chome you will want to know some of the information below. If you are an old pro traveling to Tanzania you may still want to review just to make sure you didn’t forget something. If this list brings up questions not answered here please contact us. These are general bits of information. Details specific to your trip, such as flights, dates, etc., will be relayed to you by email.
Just a note about the map above: this is a satellite view of the campus of the school we will be working at. Right in the center of the screen you will see several buildings in a loose triangle shape or “Y” shape. Administration building on left top corner with red roof, multipurpose building built by WHS/MFM on top right corner of triangle and two long buildings are the girl’s dormitories. Follow them straight down until you come to the next building with the square roof. That is Kisaka Villa where we will reside. You can zoom out to see the relationship of this area to the rest of Tanzania.
If this is your first time to travel abroad, follow this link to Department of State website that will give you some good tips —
WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?
Travel insurance is included in your fees. This will cover basic health needs, emergency evacuation due to several reasons including health, some coverage of personal items being lost or stolen. It is basic. If you prefer to purchase more robust coverage there are several companies online that you can compare. If you are unsure about this, call us.
WHAT ABOUT PASSPORT?
Make sure your passport has six months left on it before expiration and at least two pages. They prefer facing pages for Tanzania Visa. It is a good idea to make copies of your passport in case you were to lose it. It will make getting another, or at least travel documents, from the embassy so you can travel home.
DO I GET A VISA PRIOR TO TRAVEL?
We get the visa in the airport at Kilimanjaro. You do not need to take care of that ahead of time. This is a multiple entry visa and is included in your trip fees. If you went last year, check to see if last years visa expires AFTER our departure date. IF SO, you won’t need to pay again this year. Let us know.
WHAT ABOUT MY AIR MILES, SEATING OR MEALS ON THE FLIGHT?
You are welcome to go to the KLM website and look at the seat arrangement and change seats if you wish. We suggest you check this prior to departure to be sure you have your seats assigned. Also, if you wish to have a vegetarian meal or special diet, please choose that on the website. Add your delta sky miles or KLM Flying Blue number in there also to get the miles from this trip. If you have already provided this information, please check the site to verify that your information did get in correctly and you have the desired seats and meals. Sometimes we can request, but not always guarantee that you get what you want.
WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT PERSONAL MEDICATIONS?
ALL Personal prescriptions when traveling overseas should be carried in the original container if possible. Many countries are concerned with illicit drugs and your bottle with RX on it will help identify and show you are supposed to be carrying those medications. Also check this link. Scroll to bottom of page to see some good advice on your personal medications.
Concerning vaccinations for the area we are visiting, you can check the CDC website for recommendations on vaccines, etc. —
Only yellow fever if required if you are arriving in Tanzania from neighboring countries. CDC does not recommend this. Because we are arriving from US then Europe there is no requirement. If you have a yellow fever shot, it is a good idea to bring your vaccination card to prove it. A couple of other vaccinations are recommended. You should look this over and decide what you want to do. Be sure you discuss with your medical professional a prescription for malaria meds.
HOW MUCH LUGGAGE AM I ALLOWED?
You are allowed two pieces of luggage, plus a carry-on and a personal bag. You should plan to pack your personal belongings in one bag (checked or carry-on – depending on how much stuff you need) and the other checked bag will be used for supplies, meds, etc. If you live in DFW area, we will be giving you some things to put in your bag. If you live in SLC area, Cathey and Vernon will give you some things. If you are in other areas of U.S., we will be giving you a list of things to try to collect. People will want to give you things to take to the kids there (stuffed animals, clothes, etc.). If you choose to take these things they need to go in after the meds or other supplies you need to take. If they don’t fit and you want to take another suitcase filled with these things it will cost you to check it. You can check the KLM website to see the prices.
WHAT IS THE CLIMATE IN TANZANIA?
It is very mild on the mountain in Chome. We will be south of the equator (just barely) so it is the opposite season. The students there are freezing but most of the time the team is comfortable in short sleeves. Remember, we are at a higher altitude for most of the trip. Closer to the sun. If you are taking Doxycycline for Malaria you will likely have issue with sunburn if you don’t take sunblock. If you forget it, ask to borrow. Once we leave the mountain and get to lower altitude it will warm up.
You can check the weather online. It is Chome,in Same Region, Tanzania. Most days are in the 80s and the evening a little cooler. Occasionally we have a little rain shower in the evening. You will want a light jacket most likely. On safari, you will have hotter weather.
ATTIRE: what should I wear?
Wear scrubs for the clinics (or scrub tops) if you can, an outfit for church (dress or skirt preferable for the ladies), casual clothes to wear in the evening (won’t be in these clothes for long each night, so don’t need lots of different outfits), safari clothes (shorts, or slacks or whatever is cool and comfortable). The road from the lodge where you stay to the med clinic building is dirt and uneven. Good walking shoes are needed. And it’s possible we will take a hike, so you will want your tennis shoes for that also. Sandals are fine for walking around the area if you are comfortable in them. Your tennis shoes might get red dirt/dust all over them from hiking the road. If new you might want to consider other shoes you can clean easily or older shoes. Also a trash bag from home makes a good cover to keep the dirt just on your shoes and not your other items in luggage on the way home. You could pack your suitcase with things that you plan to leave behind (shoes, pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, etc.) and on the day we leave we give them to the women who take care of us while we are there and they distribute them. It’s up to you.
HOW ABOUT EXCHANGING MONEY / HOW MUCH SHOULD I TAKE?
We will arrange to exchange some money from U.S. dollars to TZ shillings (Tsh) if you wish. Some places on the trip will take U.S. Dollars (USD) but some don’t. Not many places in Chome to consider using money but possible to buy a soda or give an offering. Most people get anywhere from $50 to $200 exchanged. Since everything is covered in the cost of your trip, this money will be for souvenirs, etc. $50 and $100 bills get a better exchange than $10s and $20s and they should be 2006 or later. 2009 date is better. They are picky about exchange. Concerned with counterfeits.
There are times when we have a person or situation that we wish to help with while in Chome. It may be that we present the issue to the group and those who want to pitch in with whatever they feel impressed to give. Could be an individual needs food, or someone needs to go down the mountain for medical care, or one year we purchased a motorcycle for a guy who needed it ($600). These are not usually huge amounts of money and people give if they wish to. Just want you to be aware that there may be things that tug at your heartstrings and you will decide at that point if you want to participate. No pressure. But you will want shillings for that or a pledge to pay when you get home. Ask if you have questions about this. PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO EXCHANGE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
WILL I NEED TO TAKE BEDDING and LINENS?
The sheets, etc. on our beds are provided, but they do not have lots of extra linens. If you wish to bring a sheet, a pillow etc. feel free to do so. Also, you may wish to bring your own towel (you can leave it there or not). They do the best they can to provide these items for us but some folks like their own from home.
CAN I BRING AN INSTRUMENT / WILL THERE BE MUSIC?
Do you play an instrument? In the evenings we have short meetings with the students at the school where we are located. If you can play the guitar or other instrument please bring it if you can. You will be a hit. These kids at the school are very musical. Most Tanzanians can sing really well.
DO I NEED TO COLLECT ITEMS FOR PHARMACY & MEDICAL SUPPLIES?
In a separate email we will send you a list of meds we need to collect for the trip. It is very costly to purchase all of these meds, so we ask everyone to help out. Please ask your doc, pharmacist, friends in medical field, etc. to help you with this. We can provide you a letter from the organization requesting this and providing our 501(c)3 number if they need it. Also, bring your own stethoscope or other items you may need for medical clinic if you have them.
WHAT ABOUT TOILETRIES?
Be sure to bring some toilet paper. When you stop along the way there will not be toilet paper in the bathrooms. In Chome they will provide toilet paper, but it is good to have some for the “just in case” moments. You will be sharing a bathroom with several people. Bring your own soap, shampoo, and so on. Flip flops for the shower would be a good idea.
WHAT ABOUT CALLING HOME?
For whatever reason, most cell carriers in the U.S. don’t have a plan, or at least a good one, that covers roaming in Tanzania. Check with your carrier to see what data and voice plans they offer. Usually the cheapest way to communicate back home is via text. Ask your carrier about turning off data and other things to avoid surprises on your bill when you get home. We try to purchase a phone there to use on the local network. Sometimes this is an option to use to call home. We will have to discuss when we hit the ground there.
WHAT ABOUT MY PAYMENTS?
If you have not already made your payments, please get this done as soon as possible. The last payment is about to be due. You can send a check to My Father’s Mission at P O Box 186, Keene, TX 76059. Or if you prefer you can use PopMoney. This is something that you can sign up for with your bank. It is super easy and costs about 50 cents to $1 to send the money (rather than the 2% that PayPal charges). Let us know if you have questions about this and want to pay this way. We can help you. We must have all payments in before departure. The payment that is due at the end of December can be dated January 1 and you can let us know when you send it that you want it deposited the first week of January to get the tax credit for next year if you already have plenty for this year.
If we have not answered all your questions, please email or text or call. We are really looking forward to the trip. It is going to be fun. Be prepared to have a great time with a fantastic group of people.