The Pursuit of Giving: A Dentist Abroad

Monday, April 01, 2013

My husband Aaron (a pediatric dentist) and his assistant Nicky joined my daughter Faith and I for a week of concentrated dental service. With 223 children at Rising Star and only a week to see them all, we planned, prayed and then got to work. With the invaluable help of the long term volunteers Erin and Emily, and the housemothers (who are also nurses), we were able to see each child for a cleaning and exam, alleviate pain and infection, fix front teeth that were broken, chart all needed work and perform several more necessary procedures. We also spent a great deal of time on personal oral hygiene instruction and then we were given time with the entire group to teach them about the how’s and why’s of good oral hygiene.


Moorthy with his dental floss
One of the favorite pictures in my mind is that of Moorthy trying to floss his own teeth. He has severe crowding and it’s difficult for him to keep them clean. When I pulled out the floss, his puzzled look immediately told me he was seeing it for the first time. I gave him a mirror to hold and watch while I flossed his teeth, and then it was his turn. I choked back tears as I watched him struggle for what seemed like an eternity; trying desperately to hold the floss the right way and gently slide it between each tooth. Something so automatic to me was a monumental task for him. But he never gave up. He was determined to learn how to use this new gift he was given.

Marutha Rajamanikkam and his glove balloon.
For all of us, the week in the dental clinic continued to change our hearts. I can’t imagine the frightened feelings some of these children carried as they were brought into the clinic, not understanding what was going to happen. Some hid their anxiety better than others, but with each child we took time to comfort and love them before ever looking at their teeth. Rajamanikkam, a sweet little guy who speaks almost no English, was especially apprehensive. He climbed into my chair and as I talked to him, I realized he not only didn’t understand what I was saying, his little body was trembling with fear. To get his mind off things, I blew up a glove balloon and handed it to him. In America the kids go crazy for this one, but he had no idea what to make of it. He carefully held on to it with both hands while I cleaned his teeth, and when he was done he stood up and timidly handed it back to me. I hope he felt safe and knew that the reason he was there at the dental clinic was because we loved him. I hope all the children felt that.

Aaron’s job was the most difficult, as he had to pull teeth and fix cavities that had previously been very painful for the children.
Some ran away giggling and covering their mouth because they were scared. After spending the day with Aaron, that all changed. The children were in love (or else they really wanted to skip class). They went from covering their mouths and running away to running up to us, exclaiming, “Pain! Pain!” because they knew that was the magic word to get them into the dental clinic! In the end, it was disheartening to leave without finishing everything that needed to be done, but we left knowing that we gave everything we had. And we take comfort in knowing that there are other dentists with servant’s hearts, who will come and continue the dental mission that Dr. Scott McGavin was inspired to organize a few years ago.
Before meeting the children at Rising Star, I felt a great sadness at their conditions and wanted nothing more than to give them all those things that my own children have.  After only a few days, I found my heart longing to give my own children the things these children have. 

I returned home to the United States and as I opened my email for the first time I was struck at the messages I read – advertisements for the latest fashions, new essentials, and must-haves. None of it seemed important. Because in India I learned that happiness is not in the pursuit of having. It is only found in the giving. And the irony is, the more you give, the more you have of all the things that really matter. There are different lessons for all of us to learn there, but they will all emerge from that great truth.

Rising Star is many things. A home.  A healer. A teacher. A nourisher. An opportunity giver. A change maker. For those in India…and for all of us.



-- Tara Collins (Volunteer)
 

You Might Also Like

24 comments

  1. What you are doing is very selfless. Not many people can go abroad, pack up their stuff, and help out strangers in need. I'm so proud and happy that people still have the heart for these kind of things for other people. I hope that you can help more and more people and instill in them the value of taking care of their teeth and thinking of others' welfare as well. Gunilla Cameron

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well I truly liked reading it. This article offered by you is very useful for proper planning.
    teeth whitening in Barnegat NJ

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is really a kind-heart initiative you are starting on. I just going through various articles on dental care India when I came across yours. Your initiative definitely awesome idea to start of with.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eagle Eye Dental Clinic well establish clinic in Oak Hill Too. eagle dental clinic Care knows the many benefits of a nice smile.

    Dental X ray















    ReplyDelete
  5. Great initiative! It is really very inspiring and kind-heart thing to do. Even I am planing to start a similar process joining hands with Dentist in India. Hope it works out well like yours.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is indeed a great article on the growing dental tourism in India. Even i had came all the way from australia for my dentures at dentzz clinic and i had a very pleasant experiecne during my visit, i have also shared my review on http://yellowpages.sulekha.com/mumbai/dentzz-dental-care-centre-breach-candy-mumbai_contact-address

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Some of the best dentist in the country know their job aptly. India has seen great development in the field of Dentistry in the last five years and has been the major choices of the patients coming from abroad.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful work, lots of love to you! kind-heart initiative but the best dental care centre in India can be found here they are powered with most latest technology

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The best dental care centre in India can be found here and they are powered with most latest technology

    ReplyDelete
  13. I totally agree with your article. India has been one of my fav countries when it comes to holiday and nowadays thanks to the growth in dental tourism you can get great dental services at affordable prices. From my personal experience i have been to this clinic and have received really satisfactory results and also shared my review on the same.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great initiative! The efforts that dentists like you is seriously commendable. It's nice when such professionals having sound knowledge of technology as well as oral health take a step forward to enlighten people of the society

    ReplyDelete

  16. http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Noida/ @ Noida packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Delhi/ @ Delhi packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Gurgaon/ @ Gurgaon packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Faridabad/ @ Faridabad packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Indirapuram-Ghaziabad/ @ Ghaziabad packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Mumbai/ @ Mumbai packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Chennai/ @ Chnnai packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Bangalore/ @ Bangalore packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Pune/ @ Pune packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Hyderabad/ @ Hyderabad packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Kolkata/ @ Kolkata packers and Movers

    http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Jaipur-Rajasthan/ @ Jaipur packers and Movers

    ReplyDelete
  17. http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Delhi/ @ Movers and packers in Delhi http://b2bad.in/Packers-and-Movers-in-Delhi/ @ Delhi packers and movers

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good initiative by by you guys. Dentists like you guys should definitely come and work towards betterment of society

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for sharing such great information. It has help me in finding out more detail about Dentists in malad!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for sharing such great information. It is informative, can you help me in finding out more detail on Online Practice management software,Dental clinic softwaredentists in malad,i am interested and would like to know more about this field and wanted to understand the basics of Online Practice management software.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for sharing good information, find best Dentist in Mumbai

    ReplyDelete

recent posts

Twitter

Amazon Smile