I have had my eye on Global Dental Relief since I was 13 years old and decided I wanted to be involved in the dental field. Of course, at 13 I wasn't allowed to go without someone older with me...So at 19 I finally had the resources and time to go to Guatemala with the program for 10 days.
It was my first time traveling without my mom, which was nerve-wracking, but with the help of Becky and everyone who was coordinating my trip, I made it with no issues.
My time in Guatemala was amazing in so many different ways. I was able to meet some utterly amazing people in my short time there, both volunteers and locals. Everyone attending seemed to love the work we were doing, which is so hard to come by these days. I can't emphasize the atmosphere provided. I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time I was there. Not to mention I made connections with dental and non-dental volunteers from around the world. Connections that I plan to use later in life to further myself in this field, as well as maintain friendships that began.
The pure joy I felt was provided mostly by our ability to make a difference in the children's lives. I work with children in a mobile dental clinic at home as well, but the difference in gratitude was astounding. In Guatemala, those we were able to help were just happy to be there and be given the care they needed. I spoke pretty broken Spanish but was still about to communicate and laugh with the kids. I constantly look back on the videos I took with them and smile because there was such an unspoken bond and appreciation from them, and well as from myself.
My short 10 days was life-changing. I always had a feeling that I wanted to travel and do dental work, but it was completely solidified through my experience.
This year I will be joining the Cambodia mission, and hopefully, I will be able to attend the Nepal mission in 2019. I will forever be touched, amazed, and grateful for my time with Global Dental Relief.
So looking forward to the next journey with them. :)
Check out my youtube video on my experience:
(Skip to minute 3 for the dental clinic)