Paradise 4 Kids

Visitor Rules Regulations & Suggestions

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Volunteers Information, Recommendations & Guidelines for visiting Rev Themi and the Sierra Leone Mission, West Africa OR WAU PNG - last updated 2013

More and more supporters are wishing to volunteer their time & skills, travel to West Africa, to help Rev Themi & experience the satisfaction of helping in his mission or to PNG to help in the mission there.

P4K have put together some details, recommendations & guidelines for you to understand. Please remember this is a Christian Charity Mission in one of the poorest countries on the planet. It should not be mistaken for a Holiday.

Nothing can prepare you for a experience like this; so why are you going? what can you contribute?

1. TRAVEL RISKS

First, you should check your countries governmental Department of Foreign Travel Board and satisfy yourself of any safety issues.

USA Travel Advise - http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1016.html

Aust Travel Advise - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/

UK Travel Advice - http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/

In general West Africa & PNG are not without risk; because of criminal activity, overcrowding, poor maintenance lack of basic safety equipment and immense poverty,petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching are common throughout these countries and residential burglaries continue to be on the increase.

Security risks are heightened at night. Women should never travel alone.

2. KNOW WHERE YOUR GOING

Research Sierra Leone at http://www.visitsierraleone.org/, http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/sierra-leone and any other country you may be visiting.
Research PNG at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/papua-new-guinea and any other country you may be visiting

3. TRAVEL BOOKINGS & VISA – (5-20 Day Visa application time)

For Sierra Leone, you must apply and gain a Travel Visa; below is a link to the Sierra Leonean Governments web-page where you can apply online for a VISA. -http://www.visitsierraleone.org/Visiting-Sierra-Leone/Before-you-travel/Visa-Application-Information.html

You must forward a copy of a valid Visa to
pk4a@paradise4kids.org before you leave your home city

Note that airlines will not allow you to board the plane to Freetown without a valid Visa, so it is imperative you apply and receive your Visa before you leave your home city.

For PNG, you must apply or in certin cases VISA’s are available on arrival, please check here to dertermin your status, http://www.immigration.gov.pg/visa/visa-all/34-general-information-for-intending-visitors.html

You must forward a copy of a valid Visa to pk4a@paradise4kids.org before you leave your home city

Booking your Tickets
When traveling to 3rd world countries, the cheapest airfare is not always the best. Cheap tickets can sometimes equal cheap airlines and bad ticket class.
It is wise to remember, if your in the mission field and you need to come home in a hurry that most cheap tickets have hefty penalties.

Before you book any tickets with any airline you must first have them approved by Fr Themi by emailing a detailed proposed Itinerary to pk4a@pk4a.com

DO NOT book your TICKETS without approval !

Booking your Tickets
When traveling to 3rd world countries, the cheapest airfare is not always the best. Cheap tickets can sometimes equal cheap airlines and bad ticket class.
It is wise to remember, if your in the mission field and you need to come home in a hurry that most cheap tickets have hefty penalties.

Before you book any tickets with any airline you must first have them approved by P4K-PNG President, by emailing a detailed proposed Itinerary to pk4a@pk4a.com

DO NOT book your TICKETS without approval !

4. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS

Sierra Leone International Airport – Lungi International Freetown, SL (FNA)
Travelling from and to the airport to the P4K Mission House can take up to 10 hours
We recommend that you request that one of our Mission Staff meet you at Lungi Airport and help you to the mission.

(Refer to Transfer Costs section below)

On arrival prepare yourself for chaos at the airport.The noise is mostly caused by porters falling over themselves to provide some sort of assistance that will land them a tip. You will be guided to pick up you bags and them go through customs, where you may be asked to open all your baggage. As you leave the airport our mission staff will be on the footpath waiting for you.
If you have chosen not have one of our mission staff meet and assist you, then our advice would be to choose one porter and make sure he sticks with you through out. Make sure you are good with faces because you are probably going to be approached by someone else claiming to have assisted you.
If you do not require any assistance, smiling and replying sternly “I’m fine”, should work.
Make sure you have your small dollar US dollar bills for tips in hand to avoid revealing cash and personal effects that you may be carrying.

(Refer Money & Tipping Section below)

PNG International Airport – Jackson International Port Moresby, PNG
(POM)

Travelling from and to the airport to the P4K Mission House requires a internal flight and will require at least a overnight stay in Port Moresby.
We recommend that you request that one of our Mission Staff meet you at
Jackson Airport and help book into the Airways Hotel.

(Refer to Transfer Costs section below)

On arrival you will note that Jackson Airport is just like a small city airport, (English is the main language) with staff more than willing to help and assist, although the process of disembarking, collecting your baggage, obtaining your Visa may take up to 2-3 hours depending on how busy the airport is. Once you have cleared customs you will be greeted by one of our local volunteers to help you to the Hotel.
If you have chosen not have one of our local volunteer meet and assist you, then our advice would be to make your way to the street and look for your Hotels courtesy buss.
Tipping is not customary and the local currency is the PNG KINA.

(Refer Money & Tipping Section below)

5. TRANSFERS

The Lungi Airport and Freetown are separated by the Sierra Leone Bay (the 2nd largest in the world). In recent times, this journey across has been an adventure in itself and on very few occasions, with fatal consequences.It is your decision which mode of transfer you choose but the main considerations to evaluate are speed, safety and reliability – all of which are available to various degrees.
Regardless of which mode you decide, it is an all day affair. Always allow the full day for travelling.

Helicopter
Helicopters and Sierra Leone have a bit of a notorious past, with a couple of crashes widely reported. However, the company that used to run these old Russian crafts are no longer in operation.The helicopter service (at this time of print) is now operated by Intercity Air, who so far have proven to be far more reliable than their predecessors and have recently just launched their ‘new’ helicopter fleet. Price is USD $80 and journey time is around 10 minutes.
If you choose this service we require you to pay both ways for the PK4A Staff to greet you.
Approx Cost USD $240.00 subject to change.

Water Taxi-UNRELIABLE & HAZARDOUS
The water taxis are slightly bigger than your average speedboat and run on dual engines. The company,(at this time of print) Pelican
Water Taxi are relatively new in the game but have so far carried out their operations in a professional manner. The ride is sometimes bumpy & hazardous so you must prepare yourself for that.
Approx cost is $80 with journey time around 30 minute subject to change

Ferry-RECOMMENDED
The Mission recommended option is the Ferry but it is certainly not the quickest option.The Mission vehicle and driver will meet you at Lungi and bring you to PK4A House.
There are two ferries operating at scheduled times of 8am, 11am, 2pm and 6pm. There is a later ferry which runs with the schedule of the last flight, but there is no fixed time and schedules are often changed without notice.
If you choose this service we require you to pay both ways for the PK4A Staff to greet you.
Cost approx USD $160.00 subject to change.

By Road- HAZARDOUS
It is possible to drive to Freetown from Lungi (6+ hours) depending on weather and a myriad of other conditions.

From Jackson Airport and Port Moresby, PNG the mission is a local flight away, so a overnight stay may be needed before you depart Port Moresby. In this situation the Airways Hotel is the best and closest option as a layover while you wait for your connecting flight.
From the Airport you will be met by one of our local volunteer and taken to the Airport Hotel or you can just hop on the Airways Courtesy buss for a quick 5 minute drive.

Internal Flight

On disembarking from your local flight in the chosen province, you will be met by another one of our local volunteers for the road trip to the mission and mission house.
Outside of Port Moresby there are very few sealed roads so prepare yourself for a long 2-3 hour bumpy ride along dirt tracks and rocky roads.

6. WEATHER

The climate of Freetown is of the typical tropical kind, basically meaning hot and humid (80% humidity) the whole year.
The hottest time is from February to May when temperatures
(especially in April) are generally well over 30 °C during the day.
The wet season lasts from June to October and the total amount
of rainfall is significant.

It is one of the wettest places in this part of the world and during the months of July to September there is around 2000 mm of rain in total!
That time of year is cooler though, with temperatures between 26 °C and 28 °C.
Night temperatures are just slightly cooler with temperatures year round around 25 °C.

The wet and dry seasons in PNG are not as black and white as elsewhere in Asia.
In practice, for most places the wet just means it is more likely to rain,
the dry that it’s less likely. Temperatures rarely get too hot but the ­humidity is
always high and can be oppressing.

PNG has one of the most variable climates on earth, which can confound the best of travel planning. The wet season is roughly from December to
March and the dry is from May to October.
April and November are anyone’s guess. There are, however, plenty of
exceptions to this pattern (Lae and Alotau are wet when everywhere else is dry).
The months from June to September are cooler, drier and better to visit, but it’s generally hot and humid year-round.

7. BAGGAGE, CLOTHING & TOILETRIES

Travel Light – One carry on only if possible – Any Baggage in cargo will more than likely be subject to pilferage

West Africa and PNG are both high in humidity and either HOT & DRY or HOT & WET.
Light T-shirts, Short sleeve shirts and Singlets
Good Comfortable running shoes or sneakers are recommended
Light Jeans, Shorts, Skirts, Socks
General Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, disinfectant soap, roll on deodorants (no aerosol’s), shaver, hair products etc all in small travel size.
It is recommended you bring with you your own
“EAR PLUGS”, “MOSQUITO NET”, “SEVERAL LARGE PACK OF MOIST DISINFECTANT SANITARY WIPES”, ‘CHEAP 2ND HAND MOBILE/CELL PHONE.

Do not take any electronics with you but if you do, carry them with you.

8. MONEY & TIPPING

There are very few ATM’s in Sierra Leone and no one has Credit / Debit Card facilities. You can withdraw money from your Credit / Debit Card from the banks but this is difficult, time consuming and problematic.
Local Currency is Sierra Leonean Leone – US dollars are recommended.
When arriving to Sierra Leone it is advisable to have USD$20 in USD$1 notes for tipping.
Tip $1 to $2 dollars only, from your pocket.

Do not show your purse or wallet.
If you wish to exchange Dollars to local Leones Fr Themi will organize it for you.

If you become friendly with any staff, mission helpers or persons and you wish to give them some money as a gift, DON’T

Just take note of who they are and then clear it with Rev Themi. Give the money to Rev Themi and he will make the gift.

This will be a test in itself. DO NOT FLASH CASH!!

There are very few ATM’s in provinces of PNG and very few Credit / Debit Card facilities. However in the city of Port Moresby ATM’s are plentiful and you can withdraw money from your Credit / Debit Card from the banks or hotels.
Local Currency is PNG KINA – when arriving at Jackson Airport anyone of our local volunteer can help you get the best conversion rate.

Do not flash your purse or wallet.

If you become friendly with any staff, mission helpers or persons and you wish to give them some money as a gift, DON’T

Just take note of who they are and then clear it with Head Office first..

This will be a test in itself. DO NOT FLASH CASH!!

9. SHOPPING

Sierra Leone – There is no such thing as shopping as we westerners know it. There are no recognizable supermarkets, snack bars, fast food restaurants, clothing shops etc They are all 3rd world standard and anything you purchase will be expensive.
PNG - Out in the provinces there is no such thing as shopping as we westerners know it. There are no recognizable supermarkets, snack bars, fast food restaurants, clothing shops etc They are all 3rd world standard and anything you purchase will be expensive.

However, in Port Moresby, shopping is available but discouraged until after you return from the mission fields

10. GETTING THERE

There are several ways of getting to Freetown.
International services are limited but airlines like Brussels Airlines
(Accra and Brussels), BMI (London), Kenya Airways (Nairobi) and Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca) have services.
The cheapest is via Kenya, the dearest & the safest is via London.
Shop around, but before you book, contact PK4A for last minute advice.

All Travel must be liaised and approved by Rev Themi in writing.

There are several ways of getting to PNG.
International services are limited but airlines like Virgin Australia and Qantus operate daily flights from most Australian eastern seaboard cities.

International Volunteers are recommended to fly into Brisbane and then out to PNG.

All Travel must be liaised and approved by P4K in writing.

11. ACCOMMODATION & COST OF STAYING AT THE P4K Mission Houses

Accommodation in Freetown is expensive and the Mission House’s expenses are paid entirely by P4K. So staying at the Mission House is NOT Free, …….so your visit and stay costs the mission precious resources and so there are some costs to visitors.

Please understand that everything at the mission costs money. All money that runs the mission has been donated and always hard to raise. In Africa, everything costs, Electricity is “pay as you” go and when there is none, its by “generator”, Water is specially bought in, Food is expensive, Petrol is expensive & most times scarce; the cost of living for a westerner is expensive.

Therefore, if you decide to stay at the Mission House, we must charge a fee in a effort not to cost the mission precious funds and to help minimize expenses to the mission.
So every person must pay a nominal “$100.00 USD a day per person”.

This fee must be paid to P4K via Ezi Donate by Credit Card before you leave your country of origin origin or to Rev Themi in cash on arrival.

Accommodation in Port Moresby is expensive and any hotel that you stay in overnight while waiting for your flight will charge high prices.
However, in the provinces any of the Mission House’s expenses are paid entirely by P4K-PNG volunteers. So staying at any of Mission Houses is NOT Free, …….so your visit and stay costs the mission precious resources and so there are some costs to visitors.

Please understand that everything at the mission costs money. All money that runs the mission has been donated and always hard to raise. In PNG, everything costs, Electricity is “pay as you” go and when there is none, its by “generator”, Water is specially bought in, Food is expensive, Petrol is expensive & most times scarce; the cost of living for a westerner is expensive.

Therefore, when staying at one of the Mission Houses, we must charge a fee in a effort not to cost the mission precious funds and to help minimize expenses to the mission.
So every person must pay a nominal “$30.00 USD a day per person”.

This fee must be paid to P4K via Ezi Donate by Credit Card before you leave your country of origin origin or to our local volunteer who has organised the accommodation in cash on arrival.

Share Accommodation

It is a possibility that you will be billeted in mission houses with other volunteers and mission workers

In Africa, the PK4A house has (at this time of print) 6 self contained 2 bedroom units, each unit has its own
- separate bathroom with toilet and shower
- 2 with with lounge area
- each bedroom has a Queen or Single Bed
- air conditioning unit -

Each unit can house a configuration of up to 2 (husband and wives) plus 1 single =- 3 persons

In PNG, mission houses vary from province to province, however, the basic accommodation will include
- separate bathroom with toilet and shower
- 2 with with lounge area
- each bedroom has a Queen or Single Bed
- air conditioning unit -

Each unit can house a configuration of up to 2 (husband and wives) plus 1 single =- 3 persons

Mission Accommodation Etiquette

Water and Power are rare commodities and should be used sparingly.

Lighting, electrical power and Air-conditioning should be used carefully and switched off at 11pm nightly.

Water is expensive, showers should be kept to 1-2 per day per person.

Etiquette for Mission Visitors – Men and Women

Both men and women must take care and be mindful that as foreigners, you will stand out. The following is recommended for your safety. Women must take extra care. You will be a minority at the mission house and you must take great care.

Dress codes: Hot & Humid. It would be best to wear loose fitting cotton clothing. As visitors to the missions, modesty in dress is expected of all visitors.

Interactions with others; A simple greeting with a kiss can be interpreted differently, so when you interact with anyone be as formal as possible. Never kiss or hug anyone in a adult situation, just shake their hand and if you want to show your Christian love and compassion shake their hand with both hands. This applies to everyone, males and females.

Mission visitors are forbidden to casually leave the missions alone at any time. Make sure that you have informed mission staff of your intentions. Again this is for your safety.

Appearances are everything and we spent many years gaining the respect & trust of the people. As foreigners you will stand out.

Be mindful also that all visitors automatically are seen as representatives of the mission and your presence and actions will be seen as a reflection of the mission.

Alcohol

The Mission is Alcohol Free, Alcohol is not permitted within the confines of the Mission. Intoxication will not be tolerated.

If you visit the mission as a worker or a guest, you will be seen as a representative of the mission.

Food

In the major cities like Freetown and Port Moresby, anything you can wish for can be bought at newly opened western Style supermarkets, from Heinz Baked Beans to some of the nicest bred you’ll taste.

However, in the provinces you will be subject to basic living conditions.

Payments of Transport & Accommodation

Fees should be paid for before leaving your country of origin by Direct Deposit, Telegraphic Transfer or Paypal.

This is not mandatory but is recommended to save time and effort. The less cash you carry with you the safer it is.

Email admin@paradise4kids.org for details.

12. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

PK4A have two vehicles at its disposal. Where possible, Fr Themi will issue you or your group a Vehicle, Driver / Guide on your free days –
Driver and Fuel costs are part of you accommodation costs.

13. LOCAL COMMUNICATIONS

Mobile / Cell phone communication improves every day.

Taking a cheap smartphone will allow the volunteer to keep in communication with home and loved ones via SMS & 3g Mobile Internet.
Volunteers can purchase Pre Paid Sim Cards, calling to international numbers is expensive.
Internet is available by the local 3g network but slow, but good enough for light Facebooking and Surfing.
The use of Skype, Viber and the like work reasonably well …. at times.
You will be able to share this where possible at the cost of pre-paid top up cards.

14. MEDICAL ADVICE & INSURANCE

Be aware that when you arrive in certain countries you could be refused entry if you do not have their required vaccination certificates and on your return to your country of origin you may be put into quarantine if you have not taken the proper precautions.

Every Volunteer must have their own comprehensive Medical Insurance and inoculations.
Copies of all insurances and vaccination certificates must be scanned and emailed to Rev Themi at admin@paradise4kids.org

Immunizations and Malaria Prevention

You must consult your primary doctor or travel clinic regarding your specific needs.

Mandatory Vaccinations

Yellow Fever: A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers arriving from all countries in to Sierra Leone.

Immigration will request a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate upon entry and they may deny entry without it.

Some countries, such as Australia, will also request a valid vaccination certificate when you return from Sierra Leone anmay refuse your entry or place you in quarantine without it.

Australians can look at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-communic-factsheets-yellow.htm which is the Australian government’s requirements in regards to the Yellow Fever vaccine.

Highly Recommended Immunizations

Travel Immunizations:

  • Meningitis (ACWY)
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A – Series of 2
  • Hepatitis B – Series of 3 (for any volunteers whose work will involve health care or plumbing)
  • Rabies (discuss with your Doctor)

Full course of the following (including childhood series and adult booster as required):

  • Diphtheria
  • Pertussis
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • HIB (Haemophilus Influenzae type B)
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella – 2 doses)
  • Meningitis C
  • BCG (TB immunization) – only in countries where available

Malaria Prevention

Malaria is a common cause of illness and a potential cause of death in travelers to mission fields. Prophylaxis medication should be taken to help in the prevention of Malaria. There are several options available and this should be discussed with your Doctor.

Also, efforts must be taken to prevent mosquito bites: These include using a mosquito net for sleep