Sozo Children mission trips provide individuals with a life-changing experience that leaves a lasting impact on their own lives and the lives of others. We do mission trips year round and hope to serve alongside you during dates that best fit your schedule. These questions below mainly address Uganda teams, but we are happy to answer any others you may have. We hope these questions and answers can better help you understand how we work. Let us know if you need help!
Where do we stay?
Your security is our first priority. You will stay on one of our fenced and gated compounds in a guesthouse. It is a bunk bed set up, split into a girl’s room and a boy’s room with a kitchen, indoor plumbing and a shower.
What do we eat?
We provide healthy and balanced meals that are enjoyable. Teams occasionally go to trusted local restaurants that serve American-style meals.
What is the total travel time?
This will depend on which airport you begin your travel at and layovers along the way, but it is safe to say you need to expect between a 22-26 hours of total time of travel. Your flight will include shorter domestic flights, with TWO eight-hour international legs that will get you to and from Uganda.
How do we travel once we arrive land in country?
In order to ensure the safety of our trip participants, we use our own personal vehicles that are driven by Sozo staff. If our transportation is occupied for the day, we hire private transportation that is reputable and safe with drivers that we have built relationships with and trust over the years of working alongside them.
What kind of projects do we work on?
Work projects are determined by the needs that arise, so it’s difficult to predict projects in the future. However, examples of projects you may work on would be organization within our homes, general upkeep of our homes, planting of crops on the land, building buildings and structures on Sozo’s land. Projects vary in terms of demand and required skill level – all teams will be placed at projects that fit within their skill level and will be assisted by Ugandan staff and locals. All projects are designed to benefit and improve the physical surroundings of the children’s homes and village in which we serve.
What is a typical day like?
Teams begin their day with breakfast and morning quiet time. This time is followed by household chores and food prep, which we assist our Ugandan staff with each day. Our days are spent in the village, around our homes helping with projects or homework while investing in the children’s lives and submersing into Ugandan culture. During the evening, we’ll join our kids for nightly devotion followed by dinner and a time of team debrief. We also spend a day during your time in Uganda for an off day where we either go to Jinja to visit the Source of the Nile River or a game-drive safari at Murchison Falls.
What does a mission trip cost?
We try to make this experience cost efficient and within reach for you. As of August 2016, our price will increase to $1,312 PLUS cost of flight. A flight typically runs between $1,500 - $2,000, although this is subject to change based on time of year you choose to travel. If you choose to stay longer than our typical 10-day mission team, you will work with our missions coordinator who handles logistics and payments to determine your trip rate based on number of days you are staying.
What does our trip cost include?
Your trip cost will include your lodging, utilities, food, water, transportation, wifi, supplies and project costs. The only additional money you will need to plan on bringing will be $100 to cover your Visa cost upon entry to the country and enough money to cover any crafts or souvenirs you choose to buy during your time in Uganda. We typically suggest bringing $100-$150 dollars in addition to your Visa cost to cover these things.
What is Sozo Children's Refund policy?
At the time of every trip registration, a $250 non-refundable trip deposit is required. The deposit will be required at the time of registration and applied to your trip cost, and under no circumstances will the $250 be refunded. Also, any additional donations Sozo Children receives toward the cost of trip are non-refundable. We are aware of circumstances that may inhibit your ability to serve on a team; therefore, we have three options if you are unable to go on your team. The options include leaving funds in your account to be used on a trip within the calendar year, applying your donations toward another team member’s trip cost, or donating towards Sozo Children’s greatest need.
Do I need a visa?
You are required to have a visa to enter Uganda, however, all U.S. citizens are permitted to get their visa upon arrival in Uganda. The cost of this visa is $100, which is not included in your trip costs. You must bring a new, unmarked $100 bill for this transaction. If you are not a citizen of the United States, Sozo Children requires you to do your own research about how you obtain a visa. Other countries may have differing regulations, so Sozo Children releases all liability to the traveler for them to obtain any additional travel documents or pre-applied visas before they travel.
How long is a standard mission trip?
Most trips range from 8 to 12 days, although we can facilitate trips that last up to 21 days.
Do you have an age requirement for mission trip participation?
We have had mission trip participants ranging in age from 8 to 80. However, we do require participants to be at least 16 years old or else they must travel with a parent or a legal adult.
Do mission teams evangelize?
Sozo Children is a ministry that is centered on building relationships. We strongly desire and pray that each child and family we serve will come to know Jesus as his or her personal Savior and begin a relationship with Him. As we focus on serving and building lasting relationships, we use that as a platform to share God’s love and His desire for us to know and be known by Him. We share the Gospel to others by sharing our lives and serving. However, we do not withhold help or services from any child or home based on their religion. We serve all children alike, regardless of their faith or religious beliefs.
What is the weather like in Uganda?
In general, the temperatures during the day range from the mid to upper 70’s to the mid to upper 80’s. The temperature in the evening can drop into the mid 60’s during certain times throughout the year. The weather does vary a bit based on the season, but is hard to predict due to the seasons changing from the norm.
Do I need a passport prior to registration?
It is highly recommended that prior to registering, you either already have or are in the process of getting your passport. It usually takes between 4-6 weeks to receive your passport, but for an additional cost it can be expedited. Visit http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html for more information. We cannot book your flight until we have a copy of your passport in hand.
When are trip payments due?
There are two payment deadlines for your trip. Your first payment due will be the cost of your flight. We typically book flights 30-60 days prior to departure. This means you need to have $1,400-$1,800 fundraised by this date. The time of year and cost of gas will cause plane tickets to fluctuate. The remaining trip balance is due 2 weeks prior to trip departure.
Can I fundraise for my trip?
Yes! We highly encourage you to fundraise for your trip with Sozo. You will receive a social fundraising page once you register and pay your deposit. You can use this to share with your friends and family. We also will give you an outline on a fundraising letter you can send out. If you choose, you can sell t-shirts to raise support for your mission trip. If you want to go this route, please let me know and I will pass along the information on how to go about doing this.
Are there team meetings before the trip?
Yes! A Sozo staff member will coordinate with you on when your trip training will take place. For those living in and around the Birmingham area, you will be asked to meet in person. For those registering to go who live out of town, you will plan a Skype meeting to discuss the trip manual.
How are travel arrangements made?
Our Sozo commissioning coordinator and designated travel agent will work together to book flights for each team. If you decide to use miles/points to book your flight, you will be asked to do this on your own to match the teams flight itinerary. Our coordinator will work directly with you in this process. All flight itineraries must be approved by trip coordinator prior to completing booking.
What should I pack?
You will receive a complete packing list at your first trip meeting. For general clothing ideas, girls will need to plan to dress modestly by wearing skirts, loose fitting shirts, jeans or capris. The guys will wear shirts and shorts around the compound but plan to wear polos or button-up shirts and a pair of slacks to church or when doing ministry.
What vaccines/immunizations should I receive?
Please refer to The CDC for the most current and up-to-date information regarding recommended and required vaccinations. The most recent requirements prior to travel to Uganda consist of the following vaccinations:
Hepatitis A and B
All childhood/routine vaccinations and Tetanus are up to date