The Trip at a Glance
Welcome to SJMF! This may be your first time going on the trip or you may be an SJMF veteran returning for a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th time! Regardless, here’s a little overview of what to expect when you embark on your SJMF journey:
The timing of a group trip can be flexible to attend to the preferences of the group. Typically, trips occur in the spring/early summer or late summer/early fall and will last approximately 1-2 weeks. Upon arrival, the group will spend 1-2 nights in the city of Ocoa before heading into mountainside communities outside of the city where those with the most in need reside. This introductory period gives participants enough time to relax and get to know the Dominican culture. Groups will be brought up to their designated mountain community and remain there for a specific period of time (depending on the total trip duration) and will focus on the construction of their assigned home! In the mountains, volunteers will primarily be working, however, an SJMF trip is never complete without dancing, playing games and spending quality time with the locals.
Each group will return to the city for the weekend and be able to have time to explore and see what the Dominican Republic has to offer. This may include a day trip to a nearby beach, a trip to the local pool and waterfall, or playing dominos/cards with the locals.
Every trip is different and while itineraries may vary slightly, group leaders are focused on providing an authentic and enjoyable experience. During your time with SJMF, not only will you build a home for a family in need and change the lives of local communities, but we also place a large emphasis on enjoying our time, getting to know the community while both working hard and celebrating our experience together.
How do we accommodate our new and veteran volunteers?
Your accommodation fee will cover everything such as transportation, overnight stay arrangements as well as food and water. This includes the following:
- Transportation to and from the airport, and within the city of Ocoa.
- While in the mountains, you will have a designated house or community center equipped with beds, washrooms and clean drinking water for your group to stay.
- While in the city during your days off, groups will stay at the SJMF Clubhouse – a local apartment in the heart of the city that is reserved for SJMF volunteers only.
- Each group will have a designated cook to prepare all meals for the duration of your trip.
- Your group leader will document all dietary restrictions and the appropriate arrangements will be made to accommodate
- Clean drinking water will be provided at your work sites.
Although the majority of your trip is covered, we always suggest bringing some spending money for airport fees, shopping, and local eats!
Preparation Before the Trip
Before going on any trip to a country different than your own, you should always pay a visit to your doctor, informing them of your travel plans and get them to advise you of what medical treatment you need before going to the Dominican.
For SJMF specifically, we recommend you consult your Doctor at least one month prior to your trip to discuss the right treatment for you.
That being said, SJMF recommends the following vaccinations and medication to be up-to-date or taken on the trip:
- Twinrex (Hepatitis)
- Other routine vaccinations advised by your doctor
- Malaria Pills
- Other specific over the counter medications advised by your doctor
Getting in touch with Home
Part of the experience you get from an SJMF trip is being able to live in the moment. Spending a week or two technology free and focusing on building relationships with your peers and locals is what makes this journey unforgettable. That being said, we completely understand the need to connect with your families throughout your trip and we encourage you to do so. While you are in the city, WiFi is readily available in most locations so you will be able to make phone calls or send messages back home. Up in the mountain, however, reception is hard to come by so your group leaders will ensure you are able to connect with your families when you need to.