Over the years, we have taken portable dental clinics along with groups of eager, hardworking volunteers to impoverished areas to provide dental services and education to those who would otherwise never receive it.
To date, there have been 11 such trips, and our travels thus far have taken us to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Guatemala and Africa.
The desire for a nice smile and comfortable mouth is universal. However, the needs of the people treated are unimaginable to many of us — children and adults alike living with large, gaping black holes in most of their teeth due to rampant decay: sugar cane products often being the main source of calories in diets of some of the poor tropical cultures; young people in jeopardy of losing all their teeth due to gum disease; and a result of untreated HIV infections. Even though the difference we make in the larger picture seems small, our rewards of the gratifying smiles at the end are priceless, and we are continuously reminded of how blessed we are with our own lives here. These trips are not only meaningful to all involved but also a lot of fun and certainly full of adventure — how often is one served caterpillars for dinner or has their equipment delivered by oxen-driven carts?
We have partnered with other dentists, local and international Rotary clubs, Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry, and many other community organizations and individuals to make these trips a great success. We are grateful for all of the support and look forward to continuing to work with our community in extending this helping hand again.
Our last trip took us to Grace Academy in Zambia in March 2018. With generous support from our own team members and from the Mission Rotary Club, we were able to have two separate teams consisting of six dentists provide treatment to children, school staff and some of their family members.