Medical insurance is included in your trip cost- please see the information in your orientation packet for details. The medical insurance covers you for the official dates of the trip (Feb 21- March 1). If you plan to extend your trip any longer, you are of course responsible for your own medical insurance.
Though it is not required, I would highly encourage you to register with the US embassy to inform them of your trip to El Salvador. In the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster, this helps the embassy to know that you are in the country and to 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/
Habitat for Humanity cannot make individual medical recommendations on vaccines or medicines needed for participants- 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:
In El Salvador, 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. Please be sure that your emergency contact’s info is current!
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
Wear a t-shirt and long pants
Drink, drink, drink water!
Always pay attention to your mason’s advice
Have fun, but please don’t play around with materials or tools
Check the site for any potential risks. If you can take your time to mitigate it, we encourage you to do it (cover holes, clean muddy spots, etc)
Put away any tool you stop using in a safe place. Don’t leave tools lying around that could become potential risks to others.
People who travel frequently often become complacent about their personal safety- please read the following even if you’re a seasoned traveler!
In El Salvador, we will always try to avoid any traveling at night.
Sometimes, you will be advised against going to certain places or doing certain activities, and it will most likely be for a reason. Please trust in the staff’s recommendations.
If you need to go out on an errand- (trip to the corner store, pharmacy, etc)- you MUST go with at least one other person, preferably two other people. It is also highly recommended that you have a staff member or team member who speaks Spanish along with you. Do not go alone.
Do not share your personal information or specifics about our location or schedule with anyone during the build (friends and family back home are fine).
Be careful with what you eat. Don’t eat food sold by street vendors or prepared by people you don’t know.
Don’t take medications if you’re not sure of what is wrong. It’s always better to see a doctor.
Be sure to always keep a copy of your passport with you.
Always keep an eye on your bag. We recommend you not trust strangers including hotel staff to watch or guard your belongings unless they’re locked or out of the way
where other guests could walk by.
Don’t bring valuables.
If after your trip you wish to continue communication with your family and masons, we recommend you send any letters, etc. through us. We understand that you might want to keep in touch by email or Facebook, but keep in mind that direct communication could bring upon false expectations or uncomfortable requests from them.
If you have any questions, ask!