Mission To Fiji: Donated Dentistry for People in Need
$175,000 in donated dentistry. 350 patients. 9 gratified Smile Generation® travelers.
The Smile Generation team recently set out on another service adventure. Three Smile Generation-trusted dentists, one hygienist and five support team members returned to the Mission at Natuvu Creek in Venua Levu, Fiji on July 26, 2015.
When the team arrived to set up the dental clinic, there were already patients waiting. It proved to be a very busy first day—as did every day of the trip. This would be the last dental group volunteering for the rest of the year, and the word was out.
In addition to working in the mission clinic, the team spent an afternoon at the Seventh Day school providing fluoride treatment to all the elementary students, and two days visiting rural villages providing much-needed dental care. Going out into the villages was a new part of the trip for the Smile Generation team and was an amazing experience. Many of the people live too far to walk to the clinic or cannot afford the travel by bus and therefore have never seen a dentist.
One 70-year-old woman had an abscessed tooth that had potential to cause infection in addition to causing her pain. She was too weak to walk to the clinic and couldn’t afford the bus fare, so she was living with it. Smile Generation-trusted Dr. Christian Peralta of Spanish Springs Modern Dentistry was able to extract the tooth on his visit to her village and she was overcome with gratitude. Over the course of five days, the team saw nearly 350 patients and provided over $175,000 in donated dentistry.
In spite of the busy week, the team found time to connect with the amazing Fijian people. According to Karlee Bell, Operations Manager at Hemet Dental Group, “It was my first trip out of the country and to meet people who have very little in life but so much joy was very inspiring. It changed my views in many ways on what we take for granted and all that we have.”
Alecia Masteller, Specialty Benefits Coordinator at Stonecrest Dental Group shared, “We had one shy girl, Shirley, who came over and needed extractions due to gross decay. Seconds after her extractions she got up and was smiling. She tapped her cheek and said “no mosi” in Fijian which translates to “no pain”. She smiled (numb lips and all) and hugged us. That was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. A simple smile from a child excited to no longer be in pain. I am grateful at the opportunity to serve.”
With all that was accomplished during this trip, what was received is even greater. The joy and love of the Fijian people is unequalled and we’re excited to continue serving this beautiful place.