Kindness in Action
‘Kindness in Action’: Humanitarian Trip to Guatemala Life-changing on All Accounts
When you think of a trip south of the border during springtime, dental care might not be the first thing that crosses your mind. For us, it was the perfect setting as we joined a group of volunteers and did our part to bring humanitarian aid to the people of the Jalapa Mountains in Guatemala.
During that life-changing week, “Team Jalapa” extracted 1000 teeth, restored more than 250 teeth that would have otherwise been lost, and performed somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 cleanings.
Between Two Worlds
The differences between Canada and Jalapa are tough to grasp.
In some cases, we cared for teens with little experience with a toothbrush or adults who had never been to a dentist. Yet, on other levels, we saw humanity on a universal level. We played ‘tag’ with children and witnessed the smiles of many grateful patients. To go from a place where dental health is a benefit enjoyed by most to a place where it is nearly nonexistent is difficult, even for those who’ve been there.
We are home, and yet, part of us remains in those mountains. Dr. Mike Goldstein had done humanitarian work in dental school, but this was different in terms of the distance he travelled and its impact.
“The emotions and hard work during the day and the laughter at night are the memories that will last the longest” he said. “I’m proud of the teamwork of our group and how we were able to get that amount of work done in such a short period of time. There were many difficult moments, perhaps none tougher than having to extract all of the front teeth of a five year old.”
“Team Jalapa” was organized by Dr. Kevin Davis and served under the direction of the Canadian charity “Kindness in Action”. Our team was comprised of Dr. Rano Burton, Dr. Allan Davis, Dr. Kevin Davis, Dr. Michael Goldstein, Andrea Archer-Clements, Ursula Destintonio, Elizabeth Ellis, Maryam Mehrgan, Nancy Meredith, Irina Nevzorova, Kristen Nichols, Diane Novick, Joel Clements, Elaine Davis, Tony Lewis, Tony Marino, Dr. Michael Opler, Dr. Marco Fazari, Daniella Fazari, Brenda Bornstein, Marlene Davis and Dr. Mey Tanzil.