Frequently Asked Questions
How many medical personnel are necessary to put together a team to help in medical missions?
There is no requirement of any set number of medical professionals needed to form a team to participate in a medical outreach. It is helpful if you can bring medical professionals, but we also need lots of assistants in the clinic outreaches. There are also normally lots of children present at the clinics, so team members who can do children’s ministry are very helpful. We have even had teams who have done creative projects like hair-cutting, leading sports activities, and Vacation Bible Schools alongside the clinic outreaches which has worked very well.
Who should I contact about planning a trip?
First, contact us through our contact page tab above. We’ll begin the process of trip planning and coordination. Beth Brown is our on site Director of Guest Services, (email@example.com). She’ll coordinate your lodging, and provide information on availability and cost. We also have a stateside coordinator, Marcie Smith, (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can help you with emergencies, missed flights notification, phone contact, etc. They will promptly respond to your requests for dates and other questions.
What other kinds of work can I be involved in as a non-medical person?
There are numerous opportunities for service, from the activities mentioned above such as children’s ministry and assisting with pharmacy and other tasks within the clinic; to participating in food distribution; work projects such as painting, cleaning, and grounds maintenance, vocational training; or actually participating in a building project if that is planned for your team.
Can we bring children and youth to participate in the medical outreach?
Yes, we welcome families to participate in outreaches. If your children are small and both parents plan to be involved in ministry, we request that you bring someone to care for the children during work and ministry times. If the children are old enough to participate in activities such as the children’s ministry times (puppetry, games, crafts, etc.), packaging pills for distribution to patients, and other activities, they are welcome to do that with supervision.
Youth are welcome to come as part of a team with or without their parents, but if they are under 18 years of age, they will need parental consent forms signed by both parents to be allowed to fly out of the country.
What is the best time of year to plan a short-term trip?
Any time of year is possible, but activities and weather conditions do change from month to month and affect the feasibility of traveling to certain regions. The time of year when the weather is the most pleasant and when it is usually possible to travel to even the most mountainous regions is during December through February. It is still dry through May, so mountain trips are usually still possible. March through May are the hottest months of the year. And then the rainy season begins in May or June through October. Teams often come then, too, but the range of activity is more restricted.
The only time which we usually close to medical teams is late August, as we do not always have the personnel and the services needed to offer team trips then.
Which travel methods and destinations are recommended?
If you choose to fly instead of driving (a 26 hour drive from the border), there are two good routes. You should choose the most convenient one from your point of origin.
United, Delta, and American Airlines offer direct flights from cities in the United States to Huatulco (HUX), as well as many others routing through Mexico City (MEX). The Hualtulco airport is two and a half hours from us, but we’re happy to make the trip for you. There is a charge of $90 US, or its Mexican peso equivalent, for pickup for those arriving to the Huatulco airport, and another $90 for those leaving from the Huatulco airport.
Another option is to fly into Mexico City (MEX), and from there into Puerto Escondido (PXM). This airport is thirty minutes from us. For those arriving at the Puerto Escondido airport there is no pick up charge.
United Airlines has recently begun to book fights using the MEX/PXM route, booking all the way through from the States with a layover in Mexico City. Or you can book MEX to PXM online from the following in-country airlines that fly here, Vivaaerobus , Interjet , and Aeromar. Also Aerotucan flies from Oaxaca City to PXM, if that’s most convenient for you.
We’re blessed to accommodate you however you arrive. And we’re happy to give you good road directions, or to pick you up at the airport that best suites you.
If you miss a flight then please email us immediately or call us at 958-103-1867, or 954-107-3380, or 954-101-5854 inside of Mexico. If you’re calling from outside of Mexico then you must dial 011-52-1 before the numbers written above.
What about visas?
There are a few kinds of visas that may apply to your stay here. The most common and easiest is the standard tourist visa. That’s given to you at no cost, and you’ll fill it out when you cross the border by land or on the airplane by air. This visa is sufficient to come and study Spanish under, and is normally given for six months. The lodging address to write on the visa application is Roca Blanca Mission Base, s/n frente a la playa Roca Blanca, Cacalotepec, Oaxaca.
With a tourist visa, if your time with us goes beyond the six months then you’ll need to make a border crossing before it expires, some taking advantage of a quick bus ride to the Guatemala border to cross and reenter, which is significantly closer.
There are also various resident visas that will be necessary if you’re coming to live or do public ministry for an extended time in Mexico. In that case, your sponsoring church or organization will help you with the application process.
What things should I bring?
If you have an air mattress and sleeping bag then they’re always good to bring. Also towels and washcloths would be handy.
It’s advisable to have something warm to wear in the early morning for a mountain trip. Bring a Spanish Bible if you have one already.
Insect repellent and suntan lotion is advisable, and any medicines or personal items that may not be available locally.
There’s much more detailed information where most of your questions will be answered here: Roca Blanca Orientation .
Please feel free to write about any other items you might be wondering about. We wish for you to be informed and as comfortable as possible while you’re with us!
Are there dress and behavior policies?
As a representative of our work here you will be asked to adhere to the policies of the Roca Blanca Mission Base regarding dress and culturally sensitive issues. For details you can go to http://rocablanca.org/get-involved/orientation. This page is written primarily for short term teams, but you’ll find useful cultural and packing tips there!
We also talk quite a bit about cultural dress and behavior norms on your first day here. The primary issues are modesty and discretion for the sake of our indigenous friends and neighbors, whose norms may be quite different from those coming to help. If you have any particular questions regarding piercings, tattoos, types of clothing, etc., please fell free to contact us about them!
What about telephones and Internet?
Your present cell phone provider may offer an inexpensive Mexico plan. If not then cell phones can be purchased here for around $40 US and up. They use pay by minute plans, usually at the rate of about 10 cents US a minute. If you’re here for a short time then it’s probably not worth your while to purchase a phone here.
We have a secure Internet Wifi at the Mission Base. Our Internet won’t be as fast as you’re accustomed to, but it generally works well.
And there are Internet cafes in every town where you an use one of their computers to connect to the Internet for around $1 US an hour.
Where can I find more about the mission base?
Take a look at the Roca Blanca Mission Base website, Roca Blanca, for a fuller perspective of what the mission base and it’s staff are about, as well as some helpful guides regarding orientation to life in our part of Mexico.
And you can always contact us for more info at any time. Please do!
Interdenominational and International?
We’ve had teams, students, and interns from a large variety of churches and evangelical Christian persuasions, and from different countries. Our posture is the same as 17th century Lutheran, Peter Meiderlin, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
You’ll be at home here!