Frequently Asked Questions
Do you accept volunteers at Amani Baby Cottage?
How do I apply? When can I come? How long can I stay?
We welcome volunteers who have a heart to serve. Even though we have a wonderful Ugandan staff, there are never enough hands to give these children the love and attention they deserve. Sometimes there are many volunteers, and sometimes there are few.
In order to apply, click here to be transferred to our application and policies. Once you submit both documents, and pay the application fee, we will contact you about the remaining portion of the application process. If you are under 21, you will also need a letter of parental consent.
We welcome volunteers from any country. Our volunteers generally come for around three months. Ranging from beginning of February to beginning of May, the same with May-August, August-November, and November-February. Any term longer than that will need to be approved through our Board of Directors, Corky Randolph.
What are your doctrinal beliefs?
Is there a church with the organization or other churches in the area?
Regarding our doctrinal beliefs, we are Evangelical Christians. In short, we believe the Bible; it’s our standard for faith practice. We love the Lord Jesus, and are here doing what we do out of devotion and joyful obedience to Him. Read our Beliefs for our full statement of faith.
There are churches of all kinds in the area. We’ve had volunteers of many denominational preferences. We’ll help you find a place to worship where you are comfortable (considering this is Africa, of course!) Each Sunday our volunteers get the wonderful opportunity of taking one of our children to church.
What will I be doing as a volunteer?
We are all about babies! We can house up to 60 children, ages newborn to 5 years. Volunteers need commitment, a good work ethic, and a servant’s heart. If you are coming to Amani to volunteer then you need to be willing to follow the Amani agenda and not your own. The schedule that is in place needs to be followed and you will be asked to work 35-40 hours per week. Saturdays you will be either doing projects half the day, taking kids on outings, and outreach in the community. One week day and Sundays are your days off. Male volunteers will be asked to help with maintenance and projects in addition to spending time with the babies (as part of your 35-40 hours). Our Ugandan staff are watching the volunteers who come and when they see you are willing to work, it encourages them to do the same.
Which airport is near you? How will I get to Amani?
What travel documents do I need to bring with me?
Entebbe (airport code EBB) is the nearest airport. The airport is about a 3 to 5 hour drive from Jinja, depending on time and traffic, and we will arrange transport for you to Amani. Transport is included in the logistic fee cost you pay before arrival. The driver will have a sign that says “Amani Baby Cottage” so you can identify him when you arrive.
You will need to travel with your passport. Visitor visas will need to be applied for online and is valid for a period of 30 to 90 days (ask for 90 days if you need the longer time). You will need to carry your immunization card showing you have been inoculated against Yellow Fever. You will not need to go through customs, as you will have nothing to declare. You will no longer be able to receive a visitor visa upon arrival at the Entebbe airport.
Once your travel dates are set, you should register your trip with your government embassy. U.S. Citizens can register online at kampala.usembassy.gov.
If you are traveling from the U.S., we recommend you using Cheap Missions Trips, a missionary travel agency where you are eligible to receive Missionary Airfare, Humanitarian Airfare, Adoption Travel, Short Term Missions Travel, and Group Airfare. The website is www.cheapmissionstrips.com
Which immunizations do I need? What about Malaria?
Contact your personal doctor, or find a local travel clinic, to obtain proper immunizations for travel to Uganda. Yellow fever is the only required vaccine for entering Uganda, but it is recommended that you are current on several others.
Malaria is a concern here, and caution should be taken to avoid mosquito bites by using a deet-based repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net. Mosquito nets are provided in the Amani guest house, or you can purchase your own once you arrive-they are readily available, good quality, and inexpensive. Short term volunteers should consider malaria preventatives like Doxycycline (cheap) or Malarone (expensive). Please note that Doxycyline can make you sun sensitive and Uganda is on the equator. Most doctors no longer recommend Larium (Mefloquine) because of the side effects. Most long-termers don’t take anti-malarials because there is treatment here and it is effective. Consult your doctor with further questions.
Consult the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/travel) for Ugandan recommendations and for a Travel Health Clinics in the US.
How safe is the work in consideration of health, as far as HIV/AIDS and such?
We have no children who are HIV+ right now. The only way it can be transmitted from them is blood to blood contact, so we are careful about that. They are on ARVs and are virtually symptom free.
Regardless of how careful you are about what and where you eat and drink, you will probably have some minor problems with your health while here. The most common incidents relate to gastrointestinal problems and parasites. These are easily and inexpensively treated. The children get the normal cold, ‘flu’, infections, etc, as they do in other countries.
Where will I stay? How much will it cost?
You will be responsible for paying your own expenses while here. Amani Baby Cottage has a Guest House for its volunteers (married couples and groups will need to find their own accommodation), but space is limited. Refer to Amani Guest House Information for guidelines and rate information.
Lunch is provided at the baby home. An additional $200 US per month is usually sufficient to cover other personal expenses and meals. Check out the Jinja Guide for information on restaurants and activities.
What should I know about money while I am there?
Most banks in Jinja and Kampala accept visa debit cards or visa credit cards that have a pin number. Please note that you will be charged a withdrawal fee for each transaction. There are now a few banks accepting Mastercard. Most currencies can be exchanged at a local bank. If you bring American dollars, please make sure they are larger bills ($100s and $50s). Be sure to bring bills dated 2006 or newer, as older bills are refused. Do NOT bring travelers checks.
Canadians: debit cards from your bank will work if the card has the plus symbol on the back.
What kind of food is available in Jinja?
There are many supermarkets around town that offer the basics. An authentic Ugandan lunch is available to at the baby home. There are also a variety of restaurants around town that will have foods very similar to home. If there is packaged food you cannot live without from home, bring it with you. There is a microwave in the guest house.
Bottled drinking water is readily available for purchase. Amani guest house has a water filter, so you can help yourself to that.
Fresh fruits and vegetables here are wonderful and readily available at markets around town. Fresh produce that will be eaten without cooking should be washed and soaked in a very weak bleach or vinegar solution before eating to destroy any microorganisms that can make unfamiliar stomachs sick.
What do I need to bring with me?
Many things people are accustomed to are available here, however there are some things that are hard to find, so please bring your basic toiletries/cosmetics. We have much bug spray and sunscreen left behind by previous volunteers, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.
Electrical current is 240 volts. American appliances that only work on 110v will need a converter. To find out what your electronic devices require look on the plug and check the AC Input. If it says 100-240v then you won’t need a converter (many electronics, including computers, run on either voltage), but you will need a plug adapter that is suited for Africa. Multiplug power strips are available in the guest house.
Is there a dress code?
Yes. You are representing Amani during your stay here and that includes the way you dress. You will be asked to change if you are dressed inappropriately.
During work hours, it’s recommended to wear scrubs as your uniform. We have some you can borrow, or you can bring personal ones.
Ladies: Our dress code allows for no shorts above the knee, spaghetti straps or tube tops, spandex shorts or pants, and bikini swimsuits. There can be no waist/torso or cleavage showing, ever. All pants/trousers and skirts must be below the knee. See-through clothing is not permitted. You will need to wear a longer skirt if you are going to a village and most village churches.
Men: It is permissible to wear longer shorts. Shirts must be worn at all times.
When you are in your guest house/accommodations, you may wear modest shorts.
The dirt here is red and is everywhere, so dark colored clothing is recommended. Light colored clothing is likely to get ruined quickly. Please bring some nice clothes for church and outings as well.
Is it safe to travel to Uganda?
As far as risks in traveling, Uganda is actually one of the safest places to travel. The country is very visitor friendly. The people here are mostly very peaceful and non-violent. The Bradt Travel guide states that Uganda is one of the safest places for tourists.
Jinja is probably one of the safest places in Uganda, and Uganda is one of the safest places in the developing world to travel. We have had many volunteers come and go without any incident. What you may hear about on the news concerning Uganda involves rebel activity in the north, and does not affect us.
It is important to take precautions, as you would anywhere, by not being alone at night. Amani does not allow volunteers to be out by themselves after dark.
What language is spoken in Uganda?
English is the official language here and is spoken by everyone who has been to school, and by most Ugandans who live in the cities. The local languages spoken in our area are Luganda and Lusoga. You can get by with only English unless you travel deep into the village. In that case you would need to have someone with you who speaks the local language. Your duties at Amani would not require such travel.
How available is international communication?
We have wifi available in the guest house and at most cafes in town. Please feel free to bring your computer, tablet, or smart phone. Mobile phones are very common here too. You can get a mobile phone in Uganda for under $100 or bring an international one from home (it must be tri-band or quadband and it MUST be unlocked). SIM cards for different cell phone providers are easily available and are inexpensive. Pay-as-you-go airtime can be purchased in different monetary increments almost everywhere. You can place international calls at a very low rate and you are able to receive calls from anywhere at no cost. Skype subscription packages for Uganda are the best options for friends and family that would like to reach you on your Ugandan cell phone.
**The internet is a privilege we extend to guests and there is no guarantee that it will be available at all times.
If you will be receiving postal mail during your stay here, keep in mind that mail is generally very slow in getting to Uganda. Letters arrive in around 2-3 weeks, while packages sent airmail can take 1-2 months to arrive. Fed Ex and DHL are very reliable here, but expensive. Mail from Europe does not take as long to arrive.
In case of an emergency, the U.S State Department can contact us via the U.S. Consulate here in Uganda or the equivalent agency in your country of origin.
I have room in my luggage and would like to bring some things for the babies’ home.
Please see the Donate page for a current list of items needed (as well as things we don’t need). We will also include a list of urgent items in the Welcome Package sent before your arrival. Please let us know if you have any available room as well.