Expectations of Team Trip Members
Team members are expected to live and breathe these two principles in preparation for their trip and while in Rwanda:
- Flexibility: Let “This is Africa” be your mantra. Your schedule, your activities and your budget will all change. Expect these changes and roll with them.
- Learning: The reason for your trip is to learn! Your worldview may be stretched. Embrace the challenge and dive in!
Team members are asked to respect Africa New Life Ministry’s Statement of Faith:
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired and the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful men, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, with equality across racial, gender, and class difference.
Africa New Life expects you to read this book in its entirety before arriving in Rwanda:
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
When Helping Hurts is foundational to the way our ministry approaches our philosophy of team trips. After reading this book, we hope that you find yourself challenged by the content and excited for the relationships that you will develop on your upcoming trip to Rwanda.
Each person who wishes to participate in a team trip must submit an application. Applications are completed online. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the process. Our application asks you to submit the following information:
- General Personal Information
- Passport Copy, if you have a current copy
- Emergency Contact Information
- Two Character References
- Formal Background Check
- Photo Consent Form
- Financial Agreement Form
- Release of Liability
- Parental Waiver & Release for minors
- $350 Non-refundable Trip Deposit*
- Credit Card Information
Applications will be reviewed by the Team Trip Leader and U.S. staff members. If any concern arises, the applicant will be interviewed by our U.S. staff to determine their eligibility for the trip. As part of the application you will be asked to submit the names of two people who can act as character references on your behalf. Africa New Life may or may not contact these references, depending on the individual.
Deadlines initial deposits and applications are set by your team leader. This could be as early as 9 months in advance.
*If you are asked not to participate on the trip immediately after the application review, Africa New Life will refund any monetary contribution that you have personally given to Africa New Life, once our costs are covered. Any gifts already given by supporters of your trip will be forfeited and given to where the ministry needs it most. Please see our Financial Policies to learn why raised support is non-refundable.
Africa New Life requires all team trip participants to undergo a background check as part of the application process, prior to their trip to Rwanda. The background check is performed to ensure the safety and security of the numerous children our ministry cares for throughout Rwanda. The background check is done through Checkr. To learn more about their organization, you can click here.
Africa New Life will review the results of your background check and be in contact with you should any issues arise that may prevent your participation on the team. If this is the case, we will refund any monetary contribution that you have personally given to Africa New Life, once our costs are covered. Any gifts already given by supporters of your trip will be forfeited and given to where the ministry needs it most. Please see our Financial Policies to learn why raised support is non-refundable.
Please note, for returning travelers this step is still required. The background check expires annually. Those under the age of 18 are exempt from this step.
A passport is required to travel to Rwanda and must be valid for 6 months after the date of your return to the U.S. at the completion of your trip. For example, if your return to America is on January 15, your passport must not expire until after June 15. During busy times, passport applications can take many months to process! Make sure you stay on top of your application process.
If you have never had a passport, you can get an application at your local post office or download it here. You will need to take the unsigned application to a post office or acceptance office and sign under the eye of an agent. Then submit your application at the post office, acceptance office, or mail it in with the following:
- Previous U.S. passport or certified birth certificate
- Two 2×2 passport photos (you can get these taken at most drug stores, a post office, or Costco)
- Passport application fee
If you need to renew your passport, you can get an application at your local post office or download it here. You will then send in your application with your previous passport. They will return both to you.
If you need to get a passport within less than 2 weeks and:
- Have not yet applied: please call the National Passport Information Center (1-877-487-2778) to schedule an appointment and submit your application at a passport agency. A map of Passport Agencies can be found here.
- Have already applied: please contact the National Passport Information Center to speak with a Customer Service Representative. The number is 1-877-487-2778.
Please Note: Once you have applied for your passport, it is important to keep abreast on the process. You can track the progress online. If you do not see the process progressing in a timely manner, call the office at 1-877-487-2778.
Those traveling with a U.S. passport will need an entry visa to visit Rwanda. The visa is purchased for $50 upon arrival in Rwanda. This is not an expense included in your trip cost. Those entering by air travel will purchase their visa at the Kigali International Airport when going through customs. The visa is valid for 30 days. There is no prior application needed before arrival. Be prepared to pay this cost in cash or with a card upon arrival. Cash should be minted 2013 or newer, in denominations of twenty dollar bills or higher, with no tears or pen markings. No traveler’s checks will be accepted.
Passports issued by other countries may require visas for entrance to Rwanda. Please be aware of your nationality’s requirements.
HEALTH AND IMMUNIZATIONS
We recommend all team members first consult their primary care physician before receiving any vaccinations. A travel clinician will be able to give you information for what is required and recommended for travel to Rwanda.
There are no required vaccinations to enter the nation of Rwanda. As of July 2016, Rwanda no longer requires proof of Yellow Fever immunization for U.S. citizen.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following immunizations:
- Up to date on routine vaccinations such as measles, tetanus, polio, etc.
- Yellow Fever*
- Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B
- Anti malarial medicine
Most travelers take an anti malarial medication. If you plan to take this medication, Africa New Life recommends one of the two listed below. For further details on these medications and their side effects, please connect with a travel clinician.
- Malarone: a daily pill, most common possible side effects include nausea and headaches. Dosage begins 2 days before travel and continues 7 days after return.
- Doxycycline: a daily pill, most common possible side effects include nausea and increased sensitivity to sun. Dosage begins 2 days before travel and continues 30 days after return.
Larium is not recommended. Larium is a weekly anti malarial medication that has neuropsychiatric effects. Larium can cause vivid nightmares and hallucinations.
Lastly, Africa New Life recommends purchasing Imodium and requesting a prescription for an antibiotic in case you get traveler’s diarrhea. Some travelers choose to take a probiotic supplement throughout their trip to improve their gut health. A probiotic may help prevent an upset digestive system. A probiotic supplement can be found in most major drugstores or supermarkets.
TIP: Your primary care physician should be able to administer many of the recommended vaccinations, and it is common for many of these shots/prescriptions to be covered by your health care plan. We recommend you call in advance of your appointment to verify they have the vaccinations on hand. For example, an office may not have a polio booster on hand, but could order it for your appointment.
*It is common for a physician’s office to not administer the Yellow Fever vaccination, since it is a live-virus vaccination. It is most commonly obtained at a travel clinic. However, as of 2020 the vaccination is in short supply and is reserved for higher risk travelers. There are travel clinics in nearly every city. You can find more information on travel clinics in your area through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
TRIP MEDICAL INSURANCE
Africa New Life requires all travelers going to Rwanda to carry Trip Medical Insurance. Most health care plans do not extend their coverage to overseas travel. It is recommended you contact your primary health care provider to find out what coverage follows you on this trip. The U.S. office facilitates the purchase of trip medical insurance unless the traveler specifically requests to purchase their own plan and provides proof of coverage. If you are traveling with an Africa New Life team, this is included in your trip cost.
Once insurance is purchased on your behalf approximately two weeks before departure, you will be sent an email with the insurance card and the coverage outline. It is up to the traveler and team leader to read through the plan details.
We work with International Volunteer Card and purchase the Plus Plan. Click here to view the complete description of coverage.
If a team member seeks medical attention while in Rwanda, payment must be made at that time. Upon return to the U.S. the team member must submit all necessary forms for reimbursement. If Africa New Life paid on the ground, it is the team member’s responsibility to complete and mail in the required forms in a timely manner to ensure Africa New Life’s reimbursement. Otherwise, the team member will incur the cost of treatment through your card on file.
If a team member requires medical attention, whenever possible, they will be assessed by physicians who are partners with the ministry or at the Dream Medical Center. These medical professionals can help refer to a local hospital if deemed necessary.
TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE
Africa New Life gives the option for team members to purchase trip cancellation insurance. There are plan options to pay for trip cancellation insurance which would cover the trip costs (including a plane ticket) should someone have to cancel for an unexpected emergency. This insurance does not cover a change in schedule or heart. If you would like to purchase this type of insurance then please contact the Team Trip Department. Read here for more information on our Trip Cancellation Policy.
U.S TRAVEL REGISTRATION
Each team member must register their trip with the U.S. government’s STEP program by visiting here. This alerts the U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rwanda when you enter and depart the country. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that keeps U.S. citizens up-to-date on safety conditions and travel notices in your destination country.
The online registration will ask you to provide at least one complete address and/or phone number where the U.S. Embassy can reach you in case of an emergency. For this input, you may use the location of the New Life Guest House and the phone number of the Guest House Manager (information below). If you plan to leave your phone activated (not advisable that a traveler does this), then you are welcome to put in your personal phone number.
Address Line 1: KK 29 Ave, KK 27 Ave
Address Line 2: Kagarama, Kicukiro
*There are no formal zip codes in Rwanda, so you may skip this field. You should be able to continue onto the next registration page with this field blank.
**You may fill in the Provence with “Kigali”
Africa New Life requires a $350 deposit and information from one credit card to be submitted with the application to secure a spot on the team. Africa New Life will not process your application or purchase your airfare until both the deposit and credit card information are received. Please note that deposits for team trips are non-refundable, but will be accounted for when settling the total trip cost.
The cost of airfare must be reimbursed to Africa New Life. Travelers booking airfare through Africa New Life are required to provide $1,800 towards their trip before airfare is explored, a date determined and communicated by Africa New Life. The deposit and fundraising are considered towards the $1,800 mark. Africa New Life will communicate the deadline via email prior to its arrival. If a charge needs to be made at the time of the deadline, Africa New Life communicate via email. The card on file will be used to bring the traveler’s fundraising to $1,800.
Travelers purchasing their own airfare are not required to reach $1,800 by this deadline, and adhere only to the final deadline below.
The due date for all remaining trip funds is 2 weeks before you depart. If the trip balance is not paid in full by the due date, Africa New Life will run your given credit card for the remainder amount. You will be notified via email of the expected charge. Furthermore, if for any reason all funds are not received by your departure date, Africa New Life reserves the right to cancel your airline ticket.
$2,000 + Airfare + Excursions, per person
The base trip cost varies based upon your selected trip type. The cost reflects an 8 day, 8 night trip with Africa New Life. For variations of trip length, the cost will change +/- $125 per day as adjusted from the 8 days. This trip cost will only be applied to teams greater than 4 people and serving more than 4 days. Trips that do not meet these requirements will have a custom built trip budget.
Items Included in the Base Cost:
- 8 days and 8 nights serving with Africa New Life
- Meals and Lodging at New Life Guest House
- Team Transportation in Rwanda
- Trip Medical Insurance
- U.S. and Rwandan Facilitation
- 1 Gift of Food for your sponsored students
- $50 toward trip goals (i.e. a party for sponsored students, medical clinic expenses)
Each trip is unique and the following items may increase or decrease the trip cost for team members:
- Number of days in country (+/- $125 per day) from an 8 day trip
- Reduced U.S. Facilitation for immediate family members traveling together
- Added Excursions (participating in a safari, staying at a lodge, or visiting the mountain gorillas)
- Additional funds as required for trip goals
- Additional Gifts of Food for multiple sponsored children ($75 per visit)
Given these variables and your team’s goals for the trip, Africa New Life will create a budget that is tailored to each team member. Other costs to anticipate include a $50 visa fee paid upon entering Rwanda, vaccines, meals during air travel, and any personal souvenirs.
EXCHANGING and bringing MONEY
Each team member should bring some cash with them on the trip. These funds will be used for items like souvenirs. It is important to bring currency that is easy to exchange and will provide the best exchange rate. Bills in denominations of $50 and $100 are best and they must be minted 2013 or newer; crisp with no tears or folds. Most exchange booths will not accept any denomination below a $20. Damaged bills are only accepted at a poor exchange rate or not at all.
An appropriate amount to bring depends on your anticipated level of spending. Bringing $100 is a common choice among team members. Below are price estimates for local items to give you an idea:
- 6″ woven basket: $4
- 9″ woven basket: $7
- Bag of Coffee: $10
- Bolt/Piece of fabric (6 yards): $12-$20
- Set of 3 woven serving trays: $20
- Paper bead necklace: $5
- Metal and glass necklace: $15-$30
- Wooden nativity set: $35
- Wooden animal carvings: $5-$20
- Custom skirt or shirt: $20-$30
- Apron or oven mitts: $5-$15
- Salad tongs: $8
Call your bank and credit card companies before leaving to notify them of international activity on the card. An increasing number of locations in Rwanda accept credit cards, and they will be useful in international airports.
RAISING FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Many people decide to raise financial support for their trip by reaching out to friends and family. The primary way people fund raise is through support letters and sharing online. This communication shares about the trip, the team, and gives specifics about how people can help through prayer, supplies, and financial support. Feel free to review our Sample Support Letter. Please do not copy the letter, but use it as a guide for how your letter could look. If you choose to raise support, we encourage you to enter this process prayerfully.
Most gifts are tax-deductible due to Africa New Life Ministry’s status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donors who give funds directly to the ministry will be sent a Year-End Giving Statement in the coming January to acknowledge their gifts during the previous calendar year.
If there are surplus funds after covering your trip cost, we are unable to return monies given by the team participant (you) or the 3rd party donor. All donations made towards your trip expenses will be recorded for your trip, but are not restricted solely to your trip. Surplus funds will be used in support of ministry programs.
Support letters should include the following to make giving more accessible to the donor and easier for the Africa New Life office to process:
- Support Letter
- Response Device – a slip of paper that the donor should include with their gift that indicates the gift is for your trip to Rwanda
- Response envelope stamped and addressed in this manner:
- Africa New Life Ministries
- Attn: Team Trips
- 7405 SW Tech Center Dr. #144
- Portland, OR 97223
- It is also advisable to place your name on the back of the giving envelope
Instructions for giving online are outlined below.
- Go to www.africanewlife.org
- Click the Give Now button found at the top of the page
- Select team member name under Mission Team Members on the bottom right of the web page
- Enter in an amount, click Add Donation to Cart and proceed through transaction
- The donor will receive an email receipt for their gift
Each Friday, a report will be generated from the U.S. office and sent to your given email detailing your funds received. This report will include the names of your donors so that you may update and thank them. Names will not be included if the donor chooses to remain anonymous. If you have questions about these reports, wish to receive them more frequently, or wish not to receive them, please contact the U.S. office.
SUBMITTING PERSONAL FUNDS
There are 3 methods to submit personal funds to Africa New Life, :
- If you selected to have your name listed online, you may contribute to your own trip at africanewlife.org/donate
- You may mail in a check to the address below:
- Africa New Life Ministries
- Attn: Team Trips
- 7405 SW Tech Center Dr. #144
- Portland, OR 97223
- You may call in and set up an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT):
- Call into our office: 503-906-1590, Mon.-Fri. from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM PST. Please have your banking information (routing and account numbers) ready to present.
- You may call in and pay with a debit or credit card.
Although you cannot deduct the value of your services given to Africa New Life Ministries, you may be able to deduct some amounts you pay out-of-pocket while serving with the ministry. To qualify for a deduction, the out-of-pocket expenses must be:
- Directly connected with the services you are providing to Africa New Life,
- Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and
- Not personal, living, or family expenses (such as entertainment and sightseeing).
If you travel to serve Africa New Life Ministries on a team trip, your travel expenses may be deductible. Deductible travel expenses may include:
- Air, rail, and bus transportation,
- Out-of-pocket expenses for your car,
- Taxi fares or other costs of transportation between the airport or station and your hotel,
- Lodging costs, and
- The cost of meals.
To substantiate your donation for the IRS you will need to keep adequate records such as receipts and expense logs. You do not need to submit these receipts to Africa New Life.
The IRS requires that, if you incur any single expense (such as an airline ticket) of $250 or more, you must receive an acknowledgement to confirm no goods or services were provided by Africa New Life in exchange for your contribution and service. This letter serves as aforementioned acknowledgement. For reference, Africa New Life’s tax identification number is 48-1291935.
Africa New Life Ministries assumes all travelers, regardless of age or skill set, contribute toward the relational work of the ministry in Rwanda. As with any tax matter, you should consult a qualified tax professional to determine how the tax regulations apply to your circumstance. IRS Publication 526 Charitable Contributions contains additional information about deducting out-of-pocket expenses.
Please note: If you have given funds directly to Africa New Life for the cost of this trip, you will be sent a Year-End Giving Statement in the coming January to acknowledge those gifts for the previous calendar year.
GIFTS IN KIND
We may be able to prepare a Gift in Kind receipt to acknowledge material gifts amounting to more than $250. If you or a third party gives a gift of this nature, please inform the U.S. office.
TRIP CANCELLATION POLICY
Our cancellation policy has been created to protect the ministry and encourage cancelled team members to travel at a later date. We wish for those who must cancel a trip now to travel with Africa New Life at a future date.
In the event the traveler cancels the trip, funds that are given to Africa New Life by the traveler cannot be refunded. The traveler is responsible for any incurred fees as a result of the cancellation. Once Africa New Life’s costs are covered, Africa New Life will hold the individual’s trip funds, with the exception of the non-refundable deposit, for a replacement trip that must take place within the next calendar year from your original trip dates. For example, a trip cancelled in October 2020 can be taken through October 2021. We will work with you to schedule this follow up trip.
If Africa New Life must call off the trip for any reason (e.g. national safety concerns, widespread illness, or natural disaster) we will refund back to you the monetary contributions that you personally have given for on the ground costs. Africa New Life is not able to offer a refund for costs that have already been incurred when a trip is cancelled (e.g. airfare). For example, we cannot recuperate insurance or airfare purchases and thus we cannot offer the refund to you. Funds that are given to Africa New Life for trip costs on behalf of the traveler (i.e. raised support) cannot be refunded in any situation due to audit regulations. Africa New Life gives the option to purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance, which would cover the trip costs (plan dependent) should an emergency prevent the trip from occurring. Ideally, we will attempt to re-schedule your team’s trip within the next calendar year.
Once airfare is purchased by the Africa New Life office, if the trip is cancelled at any time by any party, the traveler will be responsible to pay the cancellation fee and/or the full cost of the ticket. If the ticket reimbursement is not received by Africa New Life within 30 days of trip cancellation, the given credit card will be charged for the outstanding balance. You will be notified via email that we will be charging your card.
Africa New Life highly recommends each team member buy the refundable airfare if it is offered with your flight. However, refundable airfare may not always be offered. Airlines will not refund money for a cancelled trip, regardless of the reason for cancellation, and we want to help you avoid this financial loss. In the instance where refundable fare was not offered, you would still be responsible to reimburse Africa New Life for the cost of the ticket.
Team meetings are an essential part of preparing for your trip to Rwanda. When you commit to a trip, you are also committing to team meeting attendance. Meetings foster team unity and allow each person the chance to receive important information. Teams may also engage in team-building activities and group service opportunities. Whether you participate in additional activities is the decision of your team leader.
Please expect anywhere from 2-7 team meetings before trip departure. The team leader and trip timeline will determine the appropriate number of meetings for your team.
MINORS ON TEAMS
Anyone under the age of 14 may only travel to Rwanda with a parent. Anyone between the ages of 15-18 may only travel to Rwanda with a parent, guardian, or qualified youth leader. The accompanying adult will assume responsibility for the minor’s behavior and safety. The accompanying adult must be approved by all legal guardians of the minor in question. This adult must be willing to leave the trip to accompany the minor home if any behavior or safety concerns warrant the return. This presumed responsibility includes the financial repercussions of the child’s behavior (including property damage, flights, medical, or otherwise). One non-parent adult can assume responsibility for up to 4 travelers under 18. If the ratio exceeds 1:4, Africa New Life will request additional adults are added to the team roster.
Africa New Life is not able to match minors with appropriate guardians. Therefore, minors who wish to travel without their parents must work with their family to fund a suitable guardian.
All minors must sign a Youth Contract that outlines Africa New Life’s expectations. Minors must also have a parent or guardian sign a Parental Waiver & Release of Liability.
We believe that children of all ages can have a tremendous impact when traveling to Rwanda. We see most guardians take children above the age of 10. It is important that children are mature, flexible, and capable of handling, seeing, and processing poverty. It is up to the discretion of parents to determine the appropriate age for their child to travel to Rwanda.
RWANDAN TEAM TRIP POLICIES
Your team will be assigned a Missions Officer while in Rwanda. This is a man or woman who will spend the week with you. They oversee your hospitality and safety in country. Please respect this individual by informing them and your team leader of your whereabouts should you need to leave the group for any reason. If you leave without informing it causes stress for our colleagues.
Team members are asked to never be alone with a person of the opposite gender in Rwanda, Rwandans or otherwise. Africa New Life seeks to be above reproach in any way with perceptions about romantic relationships. But most important, we want each person to feel safe on this trip.
Rwandans can be very charming and it is easy for visitors to develop a strong connection. While rare, some Rwandans have the motivation to acquire a foreign visa and see an opportunity. As teammates, please be aware of private conversations and/or vulnerable situations where you can step in and alleviate any possibility of confusion or miscommunication. This type of accountability is healthy and should be demonstrated by all team members.
Africa New Life also expects the following demonstrated behavior from all team members:
- No use or possession of illegal drugs
- No consumption of alcohol while in-country
- No abuse or distribution of prescription drugs
- No use or possession of weapons
- No viewing or possession of pornography
- No theft or long-term borrowing
- No profanity, gossip, slander, or dark humor
- Do not be alone with a single child in closed room
Africa New Life leaders in Rwanda and Missions Officers expect team members to adhere to the policies outlined in the Team Trip Guide. Remember, just because you can do something does not mean that you should.
Any team member can be asked to leave Rwanda at his/her own expense by the team leader or Africa New Life staff under the following circumstances:
- Team member does not adhere to moral or ethical standards of Africa New Life
- Team member knowingly disobeys the rules Africa New Life has set for team trips
- Team member violates Rwandan law
- Team member knowingly abuses a fellow teammate, a sponsored child or family, or Africa New Life staff
Africa New Life does not allow team members to select children for sponsorship while on the ground in Rwanda. Only children who are registered through the Africa New Life office will be available for sponsorship on the ground. We want to respect the hundreds of waiting children by not allowing a child to jump the queue.
A team trip member may sponsor a child who is already selected for team advocacy. The Africa New Life Rwandan staff will send a sponsorship form to the U.S. office to begin the sponsorship process. Home visits cannot be guaranteed for children sponsored while in country because the team agenda is set before arrival in Rwanda. A team member who sponsors a child while in country should contact the Sponsorship Department in Portland, Oregon upon their arrival home: email@example.com or call 503-906-1590.
The above policy also applies to our Dream Kids Tutoring Program. Their one-year program is slightly different than regular sponsorship and it must be completed successfully before they are eligible for full-time sponsorship. If you wish to sponsor a Dream Kid please contact the Sponsorship Department in the U.S. office. These children are available to sponsor during the first week of July. If a team member takes a Dream Kid to our staff to try and get them sponsored, the child may lose the opportunity to be sponsored. Registered children in our programs are aware of this policy.
TEAM HOME VISITS
The Team Trip Department will compile a list of students the team intends to visit while in country. This list is based on team members only. It is the team member’s responsibility to notify the Africa New Life office if there are any other students that you desire to visit (e.g. on behalf of a friend or family member). These home visits outside of your personally sponsored children are not guaranteed and must be submitted 60 days prior to departure. There will be no additions to the list once the team has landed in Rwanda.
Dream Kids, local Rwandans, and sponsored students and their families, may not visit or stay overnight at the New Life Guest House.
Exceptions to this rule must fall into one of the below categories:
- Paying patrons of the New Life Guest House
- Team Leader and Rwandan Team Facilitator pre-approved guests for team related activities
- Africa New Life Rwandan staff
GIVING WHILE IN RWANDA
Many people you meet in Rwanda will be extremely poor. As a Westerner, you are perceived as being wealthy; compared to many, you are. We ask that you do not give financial handouts on this trip. Africa New Life staff in Rwanda work very hard to create sustainable methods of poverty alleviation, and we do not want to undermine these efforts. Additionally, it is difficult for a foreigner to accurately assess economic conditions on first glance. Having a deeper cultural and community understanding is necessary to truly help.
Please do not make promises or say that you will try to help someone. In Rwandan culture your “maybe” or “I will try” are perceived as a guarantee. If you need to say “no,” please say it firmly but politely. Instead, you may offer to pray for someone and then discuss the situation with an Africa New Life employee who works in Rwanda.
Team trips will not personally give out mass gifts (shoes, shirts, toothbrushes, etc.). If desired, teams may purchase/collect these items and leave them for Africa New Life staff in Rwanda to distribute as needed in the community. These are very generous gifts and we want to distribute them well.
Neither our staff in Rwanda, nor in the U.S., may accept any kind of gift (cash or otherwise), from team trip members while in country or once the team has returned to the U.S. It is common for team trip members to communicate a desire to help one of our staff; our Rwandan co-workers can lose their job if they receive personal or professional assistance from you. Please respect these standards of employment with Africa New Life. The sole exception to this is the tip box posted at the Guest House. Tips are anonymously collected and distributed equally across all Guest House staff.
Please do not give out your personal contact information to those you meet in Rwanda. This is for your protection! Team members are asked not to give out their e-mail addresses, phone numbers or accept Rwandan friends on Facebook. Contact information is often shared or left vulnerable and may expose you to unwelcome solicitations. If you receive unsolicited contact from Rwandans which makes you uncomfortable, please notify Africa New Life staff.
WITH SPONSORED STUDENTS:
Sponsored and registered children of the Sponsorship Program sign an agreement that prohibits them from communicating directly with donors outside the scope of Africa New Life until they complete the program. They understand that they can be expelled from the program for initiating communication in this fashion. This policy is in place to protect the child while they are under our care as maturing young adults. It is essential that you, as a sponsor and role model, support your sponsored student by following the above guidelines for communication as well.
WITH AFRICA NEW LIFE STAFF IN RWANDA:
If you have a specific person with whom you would like to stay in contact as a friend, please ask your team leader and use discretion before taking initiative.
Our Rwandan colleagues can lose their job if they appeal for money or assistance from any visitor. By providing direct access (via e-mail, phone or Facebook), this appeal becomes more accessible.
Once you are back home, it is essential to communicate through our U.S. staff rather than directly with any one of our Rwandan colleagues about projects. This is for your benefit! Our Rwandan colleagues are accustomed to a regular flow of communication with U.S. staff members. This means if you seek answers or desire to move forward with a project, you will have 100% more success if you work through a U.S. staff member.