|Frequently Asked Questions|
|Do I need any special construction skills?
No special building skills are required, we will teach you what you need to know just bring a willingness to try. Most of our participants have little or no building experience. The best part of the trip is seeing the amazement on peoples faces once the project is done and they realize that they learned the skills necessary to accomplish the task.
What types of projects do volunteers participate in?
Our projects are in communities with great need of assistance. Preference for selection of a project by Make A Difference is given to communities that receive little or no other outside help. Building projects that we have done include: Replacing tin metal roofs, clay roofs, and asphalt roofs. Turning an abandoned house into an arts center. Constructing a 1-story 1,100s.f. house. Re-modeling a Boys and Girls Club. Constructing Latrines. Painting murals. Removing debris and doing demolition work. Some projects have included new plumbing and electrical, new sheetrock ceilings and new flooring. We have painted walls and doors, constructed outdoor patios and built worship spaces.
How are the project teams organized?
A service project usually includes many smaller jobs. The group is typically broken down into smaller work teams consisting of about 5-8 people. This allows the teams to reach out further into the community by doing many smaller projects for many families. This also allows everyone to participate.
Where do volunteers live?
To allow for as much connection with the local people and culture as possible participants will live in the community we are serving. Lodging varies by site but our living accommodations are most always basic. Students live together in a small village community center, school or church hall. The amenities in many of these countries are very different from what we are accustomed to here in the states. The plumbing may be old or crude and may require sensitivity to the volume of use. Sometimes there may be no hot water or electricity for periods of time. No matter how different the facilities may be they are always clean, neat and sanitary. Sleeping accommodations are almost always on the floor. You should bring an inflatable mattress and a sleeping bag or sheet. Routinely we take weekend excursions explore the culture and beauty of the area. These are our luxury times and we try to stay at a small inn, which would include a comfy bed.
What are the meals like?
The meals are a combination of local native specialties and standard American fare. We hire local cooks to prepare all the food. There are vegetarian options available. We have plenty of bottled water for everyone. Everyone eats together in the dining area.
What is a typical day like?
Make A Difference mixes work with play on the service trips. Weekends are spent exploring other places in the region. The workweek is just that, work. The day begins early and everyone is on his or her work site by 8:00 working until 4:30. There are plenty of water breaks and an hour midday for lunch. In hotter climates a longer lunch is taken and we will work a little later in the day. Some afternoons we knock off early and go attend a local festivity, hit the beach, or relax. The evenings are free time to relax, read a book, or hang out with friends from the community. The weeknights also include cultural programs, games and sports activities.
What if I do not speak the local Language?
There is no language requirement to participate on any Make A Difference service project. There will be translators when necessary.
What is included in the trip cost?
The cost covers all your expenses once in the country, including roundtrip airfare from New York, food, lodging and transportation. All participants may be asked to bring some basic hand tools (gloves/goggles). Make A Difference contributes funds for the building materials and the leaders expenses.
Does Make A Difference, Inc. have any religious affiliation?
Make A Difference has no religious affiliation and participants come from a wide range of faiths. However we feel that the journey we are on does have some spirituality and we commonly have times where we get together and reflect on our experiences as a group. We will also participate in a local religious service to connect with the people and try to understand their culture and faith better.