Forever Changed International - Missions Handbook

FAQs

Q:  Is the water safe to drink?

A:  The water from the tap in Guatemala City is NOT safe to drink. DO NOT DRINK IT. YOU WILL GET SICK. Drink water from sealed bottles of water or water cooler stations throughout the homes. Our coordinator will let you know in a restaurant setting if the ice in a fountain drink is safe.

Q:  Is the food safe?

A:  Food that you eat at Dorie’s Promise is prepared by our in house cheif. The menu has both American items and Guatemalan cuisine. All vegetables are properly cleaned for your meals daily. With that said, it is still a possibility that you could catch a food borne illness.

Q:  How important is it that I keep my hands cleaned and bring my own hand sanitizer?

A:  Very! You will be working with children a lot while in Guatemala, and germs spread. Let’s keep everyone healthy by remembering to wash hands throughout the day and using hand sanitizer.

Q:  What if I do get sick?

A:  Let your mission coordinator know immediately. We have a doctor on staff who can attend to any sick team member.

Q:  If I run out of a prescription medication, can I get it refilled?

A:  Please bring enough prescription medication for your entire visit. You cannot count on being able to refill your specific prescription in Guatemala. Pack all necessary medicine and medical equipment in your carry-on bags. Medicine should be packaged in original containers if possible.

Q:  Does the $1100 (2015) I paid for my trip cover all expenses while in Guatemala?

A:  Yes. The only funds you will need are for souvenirs you wish to purchase or snacks you might want at the local grocery store.

Q:  Where will I have the opportunity to change my U.S. dollars into local currency?

A:  We recommend that you go to your local bank prior to travel and let them know you will need to exchange U.S. dollars for Guatemalan quetzlas. This is the easiest way to come prepared for your trip.

If you decide you would rather wait until your arrival in Guatemala, our mission coordinator can exchanged it for you at a local bank. The rates are much higer at the airport, so you may not want to get it exchanged there.

Q:  How much cash should I change into local currency (quetzalas) to purchase souvenirs?

A:  The average person spends $50 to $100 USD.

Q:  Do the fees I pay toward my mission trip pay for outings that are in the schedule to restaurants?

A:  Yes. When you are in a restaurant, your coordinator will tell you how much money you can spend for that meal. If you decide to order more food or drink than is covered through your fees you will be responsible for the extra cost.

Q:  Do I need to raise extra funds to be able to complete a project in the community?

A:  No. Your fees allow us the funds to have materials ready for a small project needing to be completed. If your team would like to raise money for a larger project, please ask your U.S. mission coordinator of other options for projects.

Q:  How much luggage can I bring with me to Guatemala?

A:  For international travel, airlines allow 1 carry-on and 1-2 pieces of checked luggage, depending on the airline. The carry-on may weigh up to 40 lbs.; each checked piece may weigh up to 50 lbs. If you have empty space and are wondering how to fill it, check our donation registry for our current list of supply needs. We appreciate anything you can bring!

Q:  Which airlines fly to Guatemala?

A:  Most participants tend to fly in on either American, Delta, United, or Taca.

Q:  Is there a certain time you would like for me to arrive on Saturday in Guatemala?

A:  The best time to arrive in Guatemala City is any time before 5 p.m. This gives us a chance to get you settled and introduced to your new surroundings before it gets too late. We understand, however, that depending on where you are flying from that you may need to arrive later in the evening.

Q:  What do I do if my flight is delayed or canceled?

A:  Please contact Naomi Beazely via email or phone the moment you know there is a change to your schedule. You can reach email her by calling 360-836-7626. It is very important that you let Naomi know of your delays so that the team in Guatemala is not waiting at the airport for you at the incorrect time.

Q:  How do I fill out the Guatemalan customs declaration form that I will receive when I enter Guatemala?

The form asks for the following:

  • Your personal information
  • Purpose of trip – Answer: Tourism
  • Whether you have anything to declare – Answer: N
  • Your address in Guatemala – 15th ave "A" 12- 27 Casa # 2, Oakland Zona 10.

Q:  What should I expect when I go through customs in Guatemala?

A:  When you arrive in Guatemala City, you will go through Passport Control and then on to baggage claim.  Once everyone has their luggage, you will proceed to the line that is marked “Nothing to Declare.” You will be asked to give the customs officer your declaration form as you exit the airport.

Occasionally, customs officers may ask to look inside your luggage. If this is the case, you will be asked to put your luggage through an x-ray machine, and they may or may not open it. If asked about your bag’s contents, it is best to say that most items are personal and that some are for an orphanage you will be visiting. No one in customs tends to speak English, so just smile and say “no Spanish” as they may try and talk to you. Usually this takes an extra five minutes, and you will then pass through and exit.

If for some reason you are hassled by a customs official, you can ask to see a supervisor. There is no need to be alarmed – you are allowed, by Guatemalan law, up to $500 of goods per person without needing to declare upon your entry into Guatemala.

If you are traveling in a group of more than three people with a lot of extra luggage full of donations, it is better to have everyone spread out so that attention is not drawn to your group, and therefore not delaying anyone by being sent to the line for items to be declared.

Once everyone is through customs, you will exit the airport together where your mission coordinator will be waiting for you.

Q: Who will be waiting for me at the airport?

A: One of our mission leaders will be waiting for you at the airport. They will be holding a sign with the Forever Changed logo on it.

Q: What type of vehicle will be transporting me from the airport to Dories promise?

A: We rent a large 10 passenger van.  For groups larger than 12 we rent an additional vehicle.

Q:What do I do if I do not see a representative waiting for me?

A: Please call  our mission coordinator Pablo Villagrian 4000-8282 at  or our Director of the home Alej Diaz at 5523-2067

Q: What is the physical address of Dories Promise and the office phone number there?

15 Ave "A" 12-27 
Zone 10 
Oakland Casa #2
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Telephone 2417-2300

Q:  How safe is traveling to Guatemala City?

A:  Dorie’s Promise is located in a gated community and therefore in a safe and secure setting. To date, all participants of the mission program have not been in any danger during their stay with us. Our drivers and mission coordinator will be with you at all times while you are working within the community. We are working in areas where we know the people and feel comfortable serving.

Q:  What do I do if I get separated from the group while sightseeing or on a community project?

A:  Upon arrival in Guatemala, you will be given an “emergency information card” to put in your wallet. This has the address of Dorie’s Promise as well as several cell numbers of not only your mission director, but other bilingual staff too. If for any reason you are separated, please go to a local business and ask if you can call our mission director using their phone.

Q:  How will we get to our activities outside of Dorie’s Promise?

A:  We rent a 10-passenger van and a driver who will transport you to and from your destinations. For larger teams, we have additional vehicles and drivers.

Q:  Will I be required to lead any devotions?

A:  Our mission director will lead all morning devotions. Your team will be responsible to lead the devotion for our Special Mothers if you choose to do so, and our director will translate for you.

Q:  Do I need to bring donations outside of what is required to bring for the activities my team will be participating in?

A:  No, it is not required. Our home really appreciates all donations people are able to bring – it keeps our cost lower to run the home. If you are interested in bringing additional donations, please refer to our donation registry.

Q:  My team is not very handy. We would rather spend more time with the children and not do a work project. Is that possible?

A:  Yes, if you feel more geared toward relationship-building, it is not a problem to use the work project time slots to spend more time with the kids. If we have a team of builders, we are willing to adjust to give them more hours of work projects. This can be discussed with your U.S. coordinator prior to travel. We can be flexible with advanced planning.

Q:  Our team would like to raise extra funds to help with needs that Dorie’s Promise has. How can we find out what your biggest needs are?

A:  Please visit our donation registry page for specifics.

Q: Do you have opportunities for extended mission trips longer than 1 week?

A: At this time we are unable to offer extended mission trips or internship opportunities. We have tried these in the past and they end up taking valuable staff time and resources away from our children.

Q:  What if I need something from the store?

A:  Your mission director plans to take the team throughout the week to the store to pick up needed items. Let your mission director know, and they will arrange to take you to the store on the next outing.

Q:  Do you have separate sleeping quarters for the men/boys and women/girls?

A:  Yes

Q: Does Dorie’s Promise have Internet hook-ups or wi-fi for laptops?

A: Yes we do have wifi  throughout the guest house as well as four laptop computers available for your use.

Q: Do we need to bring power converters?

A: Guatemala uses the same power sources as the United States.  Note – the majority of the plug-ins at Dorie’s Promise are two prong.  If your power supply requires a three prong, make sure to bring an adapter.

Q: Is there access to a washer and dryer?

A: Yes – we have a washer and dryer that is available for use