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Compassus and Living Hope joined together in an international exchange program in 2011. The organizations share a common calling, “a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the desire to relieve it” as well as core values. One element of the exchange program vision is to send Compassus colleagues on volunteer mission trips to work side-by-side with Living Hope clinicians and ‘careers’. An inaugural fact-finding and cultural immersion trip took place in 2012. In subsequent years, teams experienced continued success and sharing of cultural and clinical exchanges. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers as you plan for your 2023 mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

Useful Links:

Living Hope Website

2013 Compassus Mission Trip Video

Compassus nurse put together this Video for her church in 2014:

Optional Safari Park Website

2023 Vaccines and Medicines for Travelers to South Africa per CDC

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to prepare for the flight?

  • Total flight time is 18 hours each way and will be direct from Atlanta to Cape Town.
  • Appropriately pack your inflight bag and pack snacks and activities you will enjoy. There are meals provided on the flight, however, they are often European meals.  
  • We encourage you to wear compression stockings on the flight since you will be seated for a long period of time. These may help to reduce leg cramps and other issues.
  • Wear your Compassus logoed shirt so other participants can easily identify each other.

What do I do when I arrive in the South African airport?

  • First, you will go through Customs (details of what to expect will be provided to travelers).
  • After Customs, look for a representative holding a Compassus sign. They know you’re coming and will be prepared to greet you!
  • A driver will take great care of you and drive you to the Guest House – You will not need to tip him. He will receive a portion of the tip at the end of the trip.

What to pack?

  • Try not to over pack. You will have the opportunity to wash one load of laundry each while at the Guest House.
  • Remember, it is the end of winter in South and will be extremely rainy. The days will start cool in the 40’s, warming up throughout the day to the mid 60’s. At night the temperature may drop into the 30’s. The WeatherBug app is very accurate if you search for Cape Town.
  • The best approach is to layer – a short sleeve, pullover or sweatshirt, and a rain jacket. This gives you the option to shed layers as the day progresses. Out of respect for the community culture, please avoid tight clothing like leggings. Jeans are acceptable.
  • Living Hope will supply you with a shirt. You may also take Compassus-branded scrubs or shirts.
  • Due to the consistent raining, Capri pants will be the best length, as they do not drag the ground and get wet.
  • Bring a hooded raincoat
  • Bring shoes that can handle some wear and tear. They will get muddy and wet, and you will be walking up to five miles throughout the day, so take this into consideration. Umbrellas are difficult to carry.
  • Backpack, journal, iPad/smart phone
  • The bugs are not bad, so bug spray is not necessary. 
  • You can bring your wedding ring/band and a necklace, but do not wear excessive or ornate jewelry.
  • Towels, bed linens, toilet paper, are provided.
  • Bring warm and comfortable clothes for nighttime – There is a radiator heater in the room that will be turned on for a few hours just to warm up the room.
  • Please refrain from bringing gifts, toys, for the locals. Living Hope prefers to support and help the people by empowering them with life skills; not by giving handouts. However, you can bring hand sanitizers, gum or candy if you want to hand out
  • If you do choose to donate/leave items you brought (clothes, shoes, toiletries), you may leave them with Living Hope, and they will distribute as needs arise.

Link to 2023 Packing Guide

Where will I be staying?

  • The Guest House is very nice – It’s like a bed and breakfast. Remember the house is nice, but it is still a developing nation.
  • You will be sharing a room with someone of the same gender.
  • All rooms have their own bathroom and include a coffee/tea area.
  • Respect the use of water and electricity while at the Guest House. 
  • There will be free Wi-Fi and electric conversion cords/adapters in each – No need to bring adapters.
  • The Guest House is extremely safe and is always manned by a staff member. There is a safe where you can store your passports as you will not need them again until you depart.

How will I communicate with family in the U.S.?

  • FaceTime works well at the Ocean Golf Guest House. Just make sure that you have downloaded the app on your device and had a test conversation prior to the trip.
    • Remember there is an eight-hour difference from U.S. time.
  • Snapchat also works well to communicate with family. 
  • We have created a Microsoft Team prior to the trip as a way of communicating and journaling while in South Africa. Participants can upload photos here, share stories, and communicate with the Compassus Living Hope committee. 2022 Living Hope Mission Trip Participants
  • You will NOT have cellular signal, only Wi-Fi
  • You can bring your work phone, which will have international use enabled for you to use.
  • You may also choose to contact your personal phone provider to establish an international plan.
  • You may consider downloading the WhatsApp app This mobile messaging app allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. It uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing. With this option there is no cost to message mission trip team members while in South Africa.