Medical insurance is included in your trip cost- please see the information in the orientation booklet for details. The medical insurance covers you for the official dates of the trip (May 6-14). If you plan to extend your trip any longer, you are of course responsible for your own medical insurance. Although the public health network is extensive in Chile, it does not cover free medical care for foreigners and also has overcrowding problems. Therefore, it is recommended to have travel health insurance if extending.
While we are in Chile, I will have a first aid kit with us at all times. Our hosts will also have contacts for doctors, dentists, and hospitals should the need arise. The first aid kit will have some general items like bandaids as well as basic meds for pain or upset stomach (e.g. advil and pepto bismol), but it’s a good idea to bring your own supply- you know works best for you.
Make sure that you will have an appropriate amount of any medications that you take. If you need to refill a prescription, please don’t wait until the day before you leave. It is also a good idea to write down the generic names (not the brand names) of any medications that you take, in case you need to tell a healthcare provider in an emergency.
The week prior to our build, you will be required to fill out an emergency contact and healthcare form, on which you will list any medications you are taking during the build and any allergies that Habitat staff needs to be aware of.
Habitat for Humanity does not make individual medical recommendations on vaccines or medicines needed for participants, as every individual has unique healthcare needs- please check with your personal healthcare provider for any final vaccines or medications that you need for the trip! See the CDC website for more info as well:
You will not need to show proof of any vaccines in order to enter Chile.
I highly encourage all US citizens to register with the US embassy/consulate to inform them of your trip to Chile. In the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster, this helps the embassy to know that you are in the country and provide you with any assistance you may need. This is also helpful in more minor cases, such as a lost passport.
You can register your trip plans online at https://step.state.gov/step/
Participants should not carry valuables (electronics or jewelry) or large amounts of money. Do bring a camera to document our build, but make sure to keep an eye on it at all times!
Safety on the worksite– the following information is provided by Habitat Chile:
In order to reduce the risk of accidents, we use certain Safety Measures at the
work site. The success of these measures depends on each one of us:
• Respect the directions of the person in charge.
• Help maintain a clean worksite. Remember, clutter leads to accidents.
• Be particularly careful with power tools and saws.
• Stay hydrated by drinking lots of the bottled water provided onsite.
• Try not to overexert yourself. Take breaks when feeling too hot or tired.
• Use the proper lifting technique: bent legs and straight, vertical back. Do not exceed your lifting capacity.
• Wear sunscreen and reapply as needed. Wear a hat. Use sunglasses.
• Dress warmly. You can always take off layers if you get hot.
• Know the location of the First Aid Kit.
• Be cautious of situations that may lead to risky or dangerous conditions. Do not take risks!
• Report all unsafe conditions to your team leader or onsite supervisor.
• Take care of your team members by helping them, telling them to take a break if they look tired or you think the need it, etc…
• Do not bring large amounts of money, important documents or items of value to the work site.
• Avoid walking around alone. The surroundings of the work site are not as safe as Santiago. Try to go always with your interpreter.
• Don’t pet stray animals.
Be safe and have fun building!