We look forward to you joining us soon, here is some info to get you started.
Cash in any major currency can be exchanged at any major bank on the Island. We usually make a run once a week to the bank. Many stores will actually take US dollars (usually $20s and smaller), and give the change back in TT dollars. The exchange is usually 6 TT dollars to 1 US dollar. We have ATM machines on the island that will draw from most US and Canadian accounts with an accurate currency conversion. Some places will take credit cards, but all places take cash.
To pay for your team expenses and ground fee we ask if you could wire the money to our account here in Trinidad two weeks before you arrive. It is necessary to have some one on the team bring a credit card, to charge any medical expenses that may arise.
Phone and Internet
The base phone number is 1-868-669-8870. Internet and phone access may not be available on campus. We only have a few computers and they are designated for office use only. Your team leader will be able to email key people of your safe arrival, and other necessary communication from the office. You can receive emergency phone calls at the above phone number. Otherwise personal calls may be made at an international calling center in town for usually $1TT/minute, they may be difficult to get to. Also internet cafés are available but not easily accessible from the campus. They are usually $7-10TT/ for a half hour or hour (most are dial-up).
Please note that there is no hot water or air conditioning in the on campus dorms. We occasionally do not have running water. Most places in Trinidad do not have hot water. However, tap water is naturally very warm. The water here is treated locally and safe to drink. There may be up to 8 persons in a room.
The electric supply is 110 volts, 60 cycles AC.
We do have occasional power outages.
We do have a washing machine on campus. Bring clothes pins to hang your laundry out on the line. Some teams will not be staying physically on the campus because of the size of the group. In those cases a washing machine may not be provided.
All of your ministry transportation is included in your fee, including to and from the airport and planned outings. If you would like to go out to town on your own (that is with a partner, never alone), taxis are available at a cost, and you have to walk out a quarter to half mile to get to the main road where the taxis run. You may wait 10 minutes to an hour for a taxi.
Since the climate here is very warm and most teams come from cooler places, most are not accustomed to the heat and the humidity. We recommend that you take the first day or so to get adjusted. Please carry a water bottle and remember to drink a lot of extra fluids. You may want to bring some powdered sports drink like Gatorade. Do take breaks when you need to (do not compare yourself to those of us that have been living here for a while, and be sure to tell your “boss” that you are having a difficult time). Do cool off when you need to, bring sunblock for your skin, sunglasses or a baseball cap, and bring some bug repellent too. We do not have malaria here on the island, nor do we have rabies.
We do have some first aid supplies that are available on the campus that you are welcome to use when necessary. We recommend that your group brings a first aid kit as well. We do have a couple nurses on staff here.
Trinidad has a good medical system with specialists in most areas. If you wish to see a physician, we can make arrangements. Medical expenses will need to be paid upfront for most doctors and hospitals to see you, so someone on the team will need to have a credit card available for such emergencies. The good news is medical expenses are much cheaper here in Trinidad than they are in the US.
We do have a formal dress code, accessed here.
It is appropriate to greet someone when you walk past them with a friendly, “Hello, good morning (good afternoon, good evening, or good night depending on the time of day).”
We do have porcelain flushing toilets, and toilet paper. It is not referred to as the bathroom or restroom but rather the “wash room” or “toilet”.
Trini food is like most Caribbean food. Lots of rice, meat with bones. Ketchup and hot pepper sauce is usually always available. We also have a lot of Indian food, with great rotis (a large flat bread like a tortilla). Juice here is usually extra sweet. We have lots of fresh vegetables and fruits available year round here.
- Bedding (sheets, pillow, light blanket or sleeping bag, air mattress)
- Towel, washcloth, etc.
- Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, etc)
- Personal Medications
- Sunscreen (heavy block, the sun is very direct, people have gotten second degree burns from not wearing sunscreen)
- Water bottle
- Powdered Gatorade
- Bible and notebook or journal
- Hat/baseball cap/visor/or sun glasses
- Bug repellent (mosquito net for sleeping at night is optional, but beneficial)
- Flash light
- Snacks (local snacks are available)
- Heavy duty work gloves
- Clothing—cool (recommended polyester or acrylic or nylon-type since it dries quickly), work clothes that you don’t mind getting destroyed, closed toe shoes for working in the bush, comfortable walking shoes or sandals for being in public.
- Clothes pins and a little laundry detergent
- Spending money ($20’s or smaller, or ATM card to draw it out here)
- Extra: balloons, bubbles, or any simple craft supplies for children