"For the first three weeks of June, I worked with a dentist in her office at the Good Samaritan Clinic in Catacamas. I helped her clean tools, fill syringes, clean up around the office, and assisted her with the patients. A few times she let me pull teeth and drill cavities, which was really exciting for me. There was one kid named Edwin, about 10 or 11 years old, who came in a few times by himself to get work done on his cavities and to have a few of his teeth pulled. The last time he came, he requested that I pull his teeth, which I think was a pretty brave request, but we got it all taken care of without any problems.
For the final five weeks of my time there, I went to the mountains to work with the Healthy Schools program that Predisan runs. This program focuses on teaching the children in the schools and their families how to live healthier lives including dental health, and keeping track of their general health needs. I visited the mountain schools with a man named Haris to get the names of children in the schools who had dental needs, so we could visit their homes and talk to their families about dental hygiene. Haris took me around to their homes, and I gave the families a presentation on how to brush and floss effectively as well as which foods are harmful to teeth. Also, I told them about the Good Samaritan Clinic and how they can visit the dentist to get affordable dental work done. I gave toothbrushes to them and a coupon from the dentist office for a free consultation. It was really great to get to know these families and very interesting to see how they lived without electricity and with very few resources.
My eyes were opened to see how few of the families knew how to take care of their teeth and how even fewer of them have had any kind of dental care. Many of their teeth were beyond repair and needed to be pulled; I can’t imagine all of the pain that they have to endure every day, because of the condition of their mouths. Even with all of the hardships they endure with their health and their financial state, they are always joyful, eager to give what they have, and very thankful for any help they receive.
This trip was an experience that had a huge impact on my spiritual life as well as my aspirations for what I want to do when I become a dentist. It not only taught me to rely on God more faithfully, but it also gave me a reassurance that dentistry is something that I am called to do to serve Him."