I finally finished my orthodontics residency, and started planning when I could make another trip to somewhere that was in need of some dental service. This trip was going to be different, as my family had grown both in age and number. My oldest son was now 8 years old, and I knew it was time to get him involved. I ended up bringing both of my sons and my wife. We left my two little girls with my mother, and then we all travelled together to the Dominican Republic.
My wife (Rozannah) and the boys (Lorenzo and Solomon) put together a suitcase full of small gifts that they could distribute to the children as they waited in line for dental services. It turned out to be a hit. Both of my sons, but Lorenzo in particular, are the most outgoing people I have ever met. Lorenzo can make friends with a wall in about 10 seconds. With his older brother nearby, Solomon can do so in about 15 seconds. It was no surprise that they were able to make friends with the local kids instantly, despite the language barrier. Seeing the joy in my sons’ eyes as they made friends and were able to help in the clinic was an experience that I had been looking forward to for quite some time. Although they weren’t able to do anything technical in the clinic, they were a great help in running supplies and dirty instruments to the sterilization kitchen. They were always exhausted at the end of the day, but they had enough energy to talk all night about their experiences that day. When we left the boys’ biggest question was: “When are we going to be able to go back and help again?”.
With even more experience under my belt since my dental school days, I was bale to see many patients in the Dominican Republic. As a group, we were able to help over 400 people with their dental needs. What an experience!
With every trip I go on, it becomes harder and harder to wait for the next one. There is just so much need out there, I feel like I need to be doing so much more. At True Smile, we hope to get to the point where either my brother, or I can be on a mission several months out of the year.