Ethiopia: People helping people. People loving people. This is what matters.
When I was asked to write a blog post about our recent trip to Ethiopia with the Pacific Dental Services Foundation, I was apprehensive because I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly translate such an amazing experience into words. But when I realized this message might reach someone who may have never considered giving in this way, I decided to give it a try. Here goes.
In two Ethiopian towns, in less than four clinic days, with six doctors and twelve support staff members—the PDS Foundation team of volunteers treated over 750 patients and donated more than a half a million dollars in dental services. More importantly, we worked shoulder to shoulder mentoring the dental students of Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia – the “City of Knowledge.” I fixed a lot of teeth and treated several severe infections and probably even saved a few lives. I also left behind a piece of my soul.
This type of giving goes way beyond giving money, donating services or providing access to clean water. For me, this was more about giving knowledge, experience and inspiration. The greatest impact comes not by simply guiding the students or passing on tips and tricks gained by experience, but by inspiring them to give back in ways they may have never before imagined. Hopefully we can show them how to continue our efforts to bring good quality dentistry to those who need it most.
One of the most amazing things I saw happened while visiting one of the villages where charity: water will be building a well. We were greeted by villagers of all ages dancing and waving banners emblazoned with phrases such as “Water Is Life” and “Long Live The Smile Generation.” We joined in the celebration and I couldn’t help but be moved to tears.
Ethiopia is an amazingly beautiful place with amazingly happy people. It is an honor to be able to use my talents to touch so many lives, to help keep it that way. I’ll be back.
About The Smile Generation
The Smile Generation is a referral service that connects patients with trusted dentists dedicated to providing an exceptional patient experience and advanced clinical care. The Smile Generation network is made up of more than 400 dental offices throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington. Smile Generation-trusted offices are supported by Pacific Dental Services.