Last night we met with Kim, a former Quisqueya teacher for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years. Read Kim's final newsletter, "Three Years in Haiti", as well as Kim's blog here.
Kim was so fantastic. She spent her first year in Haiti working in an orphanage she had previously visited on a mission trip, and then two school years at Quisqueya. She listened patiently as I grilled her with questions:)
Things I learned from Kim:
-I previously thought the only way to travel was Missionary Flights International (out of Ft. Pierce, FL), but Kim says she flew on American most of the time from Dallas through Miami
-She said buy sheets, towels, etc before you come, but many housewares will be included in a "furnished" apartment (such as kitchen items).
-Buy things in Haiti to stimulate their economy. This might include providing a job for a person supporting a family by hiring a housekeeper even when you don't need one.
-Off-campus rent is around $500 or $600. Water is through Culligan. Find an apartment that is furnished, has a generator and inverter, and has internet.
-QCS is located by the best grocery store in the country.
-QCS has cars you can request to borrow for short trips.
-Kim kept her car (including continuing to pay a car payment), her US insurance policy, and her US cell phone. She rolled her cell phone over to her parents' family plan and paid them $10 per month to keep it active.
-Buy a Haitian cell phone for $15, then use pre-paid minute cards.
-Come home in the summers and for Christmas.
-School starts January 4,5,6 ish, new teachers should come a week early.
-There are lots of pharmacies with brand-name US drugs, as well as lots of missionary doctors who will just give you meds. Antibiotics are dirt cheap.
-Classrooms have white boards, and the school is well-stocked. Hardly worth it to bring lots of school supplies.
-Fundraise through PayPal.
-Let the school be your bank. They keep account of you paychecks, unused sick days, etc and let you withdraw cash. In the summer, they pre-pay you for June & July.
-Curriculum is provided, unless its a new class. Outside experiences, college-style courses, and outside learning/articles are strongly encouraged.
-Staff is your community. Missionary churches are best.
-Kids are mostly Haitian in high school, but wealthy and largely not active Christians. Kim made the point that though dozens of missionary activities occur for the poor, no one ministers to the wealthy and therefore they are the least reached people group in Haiti.
-Relatively safe neighborhood. Tap-taps are safe and cheap (less than $1)
-Goude exchange rate is 40 per USD.
-Lunch is provided on-campus every day for teachers
-Tons of extra-curriculars, and you are encouraged to start anything you like
-Wear casual clothes (but not jeans) to teach
-The kids are your primary ministry, and outside of that there are so many ministry opportunities you will have to draw the line to allow yourself "down time". Kim said "the ministry never ends". :)