Money / Budgeting
Before you come, you will receive an estimated total cost, so your volunteer team can plan accordingly. Your daily costs have been based on the place(s) where your specific group will stay, your team's traveling schedule, and the number of people in your group. Unless otherwise stated, daily costs include your food, kitchen help, cleaning supplies, gas for the stove/oven, marketing expenses, guesthouse/hotel expenses, translators, transportation, airport tips, vehicle gasoline, and generator fuel. Depending on the team, there might be other expenses also, such as canoe and camel "rental", giraffe guide, laundry expense, etc.
At least 6 weeks before you come, your team leader should receive a budget from your Songhai Team Host with instructions on how to best transfer funds to cover these expenses.
For other expenses, credit cards are fine for Paris or other layovers on your trip here, but do not plan on using credit cards or traveler's checks in Niger, Mali or Burkina Faso. Occasionally you can find an ATM machine in some of the capital cities. Miscellaneous expenses, such as bottled water, cokes, snacks, A/C, and laundry, will be paid on the last day of your visit as personal expense.
West African countries use the CFA as their currency. Current exchange rates can be found at www.xe.com. Look for CFA BCEAO Francs - XOF.