Volunteer In Brazil

There are many steps to making a short-term trip successful. One of the first is to be equipped with the important, related information. Once you have read the “Important FAQʼs and Information” below, click on the appropriate “How to Proceed” button and follow the steps as outlined. Once application has been accepted, the remaining steps will be covered.

Application and Policy Forms:

Important FAQ’s and Information

How do I get there? What do I need to know about passports and visas?

Air Travel:
Canadian flights generally come through Toronto, Canada or major cities in the U.S. like Houston, Chicago etc.  The only direct flight from Canada to Brazil leaves from Toronto and gets you to Sao Paulo.   From Sao Paulo you catch another flight to Curitiba, Parana.  A member of our staff will meet you at the Curitiba airport and take you out to the mission base, a one hour drive.  A good place to start checking on flights is Expedia’s Website or checking with your local travel agent.

AIR CANADA from Toronto to Brazil

TAM  from Sao Paulo to Curitiba (Your travel agent may choose another airline that is better fit for you schedule.  Note:  Beware, the cheapest flights may have long delays at the airport in Sao Paulo.)

The countries you go through and carriers will make a difference in terms of baggage allowance.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The best time of year to visit Brazil is in the Spring or in Fall.  The seasons in Brazil are the exact opposite to ours in North America. Brazil’s summers are hot and humid and winters are cold and humid.  Try to book your flight as soon as possible, that way, you are sure to get a reservation and you usually get a better price on the fare.
  • You need to make sure you leave adequate connection time for international flights (at least 2 hours is recommended).

Transportation to the Mission Base
Transportation to and from the Curitiba airport to the base costs approximately $ 50.00, unless you require more than one vehicle. In which case it would be double that.

Visitors visas for Brazil can be obtained from the Brazilian Consulate.  VISAS MUST BE OBTAINED BEFORE AIRFARES ARE BOOKED AND PURCHASED. Click here to go to the website for visa application…read and follow all steps carefully!  

A visa for Brazil costs approximately $125.00 and is valid for up to 3 months.  Bear in mind that this includes your arrival and departure dates, plus you may have a limited time period in which to leave Canada.  Visitor’s visas can be renewed for another 3 months but it’s a long drawn out process and takes time and money.  Make sure you check your departure date, staying beyond that date can get complicated and expensive.

*NB: At the customs in Sao Paulo they will stamp your passport and check your visa.  Then they will give you a slip of paper with information on it.  Please guard it carefully with your passport.  On leaving Brazil you must present this slip or you may be in for a huge hassle.

Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your arrival date in Brazil.

Sight Seeing – If you’re coming this far, we suggest you take in some of the sights of Brazil while you are here. The best time to do this would be just before you leave for home.   There are some very nice tourist places within driving distance of the mission.  Villa Velha is just a two hour drive from the mission, as well as lovely beaches both in Parana and Santa Catarina, somewhat further away.  Then there is the famous Foz de Iguacu water falls on the Brazil – Paraguay – Argentina border, a twelve hour trip. Brazil has very comfortable sleeper buses and it makes for a very nice 3 or 4 day trip.

What will it cost?

(These are only estimates.)
$1700 – $2000, if you can book early.

Transportation during your stay:
A mission vehicle may be available for use while you are there so please see the director for details.  They will have to know ahead of time when you will need the vehicle as it is also used for mission business.

For ministry transport, which the mission requests you to do and for which it has a budget, mission transport will be provided.
Any individual ministry projects you may wish to take on (once approved by the mission) you will have to provide your own transport or pay for the use of mission transport if vehicle is available at that time.

How about accommodations, food, and what I should bring?

We have accommodations for both large and small groups of guests.  The cost is $10.00 a day per person and includes the main meal of the day (served at noon) 5 days a week.   The accommodations include bed linens, towels, blankets, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities.

Visitors are responsible for their own breakfast, evening meal and all week-end meals.  You can purchase your grocery items at the super market right in our town.  You can pay cash or use your credit cards. MASTERCARD & VISA are accepted at most businesses in Brazil including grocery stores.

Medical Needs
Medical needs will vary in cost. You will need to pre-purchase any prescription and over the counter medications you desire to bring.

Please pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage so you do not run the risk of losing them.

You must purchase medical travel insurance in the event you may need urgent medical attention while there.  Most polices are very inclusive, but you must inform them ASAP when you need medical attention.  Be advised that you will have to pay out of pocket when you are treated.  Make sure you keep all receipts related to your medical expenses.  The medical insurance company will advise you on how to make your claim.

We have a dental clinic at the mission and if you would like to have dental work done while there, feel free to make an appointment with the receptionists in the clinic and take advantage of the very reasonable prices.  Make your appointments soon after you arrive in case you will need more extensive work done such as crowns, bridges etc. which may take more time.

Visit your local public health unit concerning any shots they may suggest.  None are compulsory for Brazil, so use you own discretion on which ones to get.  Hepatitis B and tetanus are usually recommended.   Yellow fever only if you are planning to go to the Amazon Region.

Medical Treatment
There is a hospital and several doctors in our city as well as in Rio Branco do Sul, just 5 km. away.  In Curitiba the state capital just 30 km. from the mission there are many good doctors and hospitals to choose from should you need medical treatment.

You can bring about $ 100.00 U.S. in cash for emergencies; however once in Brazil you can withdraw cash at any ATM with your Canadian bank access card.

The mission has washers (no dryers) available to guests, however they will only be accessible after 5: P.M. and on weekends.  If you are a ‘large group’ and are accommodated at the guest house on the farm you will not have these limitations.

What to Bring:
You will have to travel as light as possible in order to make transportation easier from the airport to the mission (particularly for groups.) We suggest one large suitcase and the usual carry-on. Suitcase weight limits internationally are now 50 lb. per suitcase.

Please consult the Short Term Policy Manual for further details.

What are the climate and culture like?

Southern Brazil, where the mission is located, is semi-tropical.  The coast line on the east side of the country has marvelous beaches.  The Fall & Spring temperatures are moderate, not too hot and not too cold; however we have very heavy rainfall.  For every three days of fair weather there will be one day of rain. In the winter (June & July) temperatures can drop to minus 5.

What to Wear
You can expect sudden climate changes in Brazil throughout the year.  Here are some suggests of what to bring:

  •  A selection of T- shirts/blouses – sleeveless, short sleeved, and a few long sleeved.
  • Socks to wear on cooler days.
  • Shoes :  Closed casual shoes, sandals,  and flip flops.
  • Sweaters or Jackets:  One light and one heavier. It can get very chilly in the evenings and on rainy days.
  • Pyjamas:  Plan on at least one warm pair and a cooler pair.
  • Pants:  A selection of pants & slacks (jeans and light cottons) and bermuda shorts etc.
  • One dress outfit is sufficient … people dress quite casually for church and other social events.
  • Sun hats:  are inexpensive and can be purchased locally.
  • If you come in June & July, it is our winter, plan to bring heavy winter attire except for parkas and boots. We have no central heating in our homes.

Note: Leave all valuable jewellery at home.  Take special care of your passport. 

History & Culture
Brazil was a Portuguese colony, therefore the official language is Portuguese.  Even though English is taught as a second language in school, only a small number of people can dialogue in English.  If you plan on visiting Brazil do invest in an English/Portuguese phrase book and study it so you can get by until you can pick more of the language.

Brazilian people are warm and friendly and go to great lengths to make people feel welcome.  There is not a great difference in culture between theirs and ours. However, as you are around them you will discover a few differences.  Introductions and partings are quite formal. You will likely get a handshake a peck on the side of your cheek or both cheeks, depending on whether you are married or single. You may feel uncomfortable with this closeness but it’s the custom in many countries and is not to be taken too personally.

You will see and meet people from all walks of life. Poor adults and children may stop you on the street begging for alms, especially in the larger cities.  Feel free to help them if you care to.  Occasionally a child from our school or a staff member may approach you and ask for things from you.  If you feel inclined to help them, please check it out with the administrative office at Mount Horeb before you make any commitments.

The Mount Horeb Training Centre is a Holistic ministry, and our main focus is children and giving them the opportunity to a good education in a Christian environment.  We are also interested in the family and their general well-being and assist them in other areas.  The M.H. dental clinic gives the school children and staff a free dental exam every year and treats the poorest children free of charge. The clinic also serves the general public who pay for these services, though much less than other clinics.

You will be expected to attend the Sunday morning church service and you will likely be asked to share. They always enjoy hearing testimonies from guests.  All in all we believe you will enjoy your visit to the Mount Horeb Training Centre in Brazil and discover that Brazilians and Canadians are more alike than they are different.

How to Proceed: Individual Volunteer

If you are an individual volunteer, please follow these steps:

  1. After reviewing the information, contact the currently acting field team leader Dwight Lagore with the following details.
    • Your interest in doing a short term mission
    • Intended dates and duration of visit—please allow 12 months, or as much time as possible, for planning.
    • Personal description of who you are including your training, age, and marital status.
    • State whether your trip will be funded by yourself or whether you will be fund raising for it. Tax receipting for short term trips will only be considered on a case by case basis should the short term team have board approval and fit with Revenue Canada charitable guidelines.
    • Read the Short Term Policy Manual and confirm that you accept its terms. You will be required to sign this as part of the application process.
  2. Once your trip dates have been coordinated with the field, you will be required to:
    • Fill out and submit a short-term application form to the respective field team director (mentioned above) with required reference letters and health information.
      • Download and fill out “Short Term Application Form” and submit to Field Team Leader.
      • Submit electronic copies of completed print forms to the field team leader (or your contact person who will forward them to the field team leader).
    • Raise your financial and prayer support.
      1. If paying for the trip yourself, ensure you review the costs.
      2. If fund raising, you will be required to put together a budget that will be approved along with your application.
    • Communicate with the field director, or the missionary the field director puts you in contact with, as you prepare the remaining details of your trip.

How To Proceed: Team of Volunteers

Process for a team of volunteers:
The team leader must follow the above process and provide information on behalf of the team. The team leader will be required to supply any information regarding the team that the mission field team leader, or the SAM Ministries board, requests. The team leader will need to assume responsibility for the team and ensure that they read and understand the short-term visitor policy.