Another Adventure

February 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Buck @ 8:44 pm

As some of you know, in a couple days, I’m headed to Guatemala. Not for vacation, but to do some dentistry and hopefully help some folks that don’t have access to the privileges that we have here in the good ‘ol USA. A friend of mine, Byron Henry, who is an oral surgeon here in Columbus, started a non-profit called Free to Smile several years ago. Through the years, he has set up clinics in Guatemala, Columbia, Nepal, Cambodia, and Mali in Africa. His wife is the president of the company and between the two of them they spend a lot of the year out of country. They make quite a sacrifice being away from family, their friends, and Byron’s practice.
Byron’s passion for pro bono work is infectious and if you’re around him long enough, you would feel compelled to help. Through the years, I’ve been supportive through monetary donations and participating in charity events such as the annual golf scramble (of course I would be golfing anyway). However, I feel I’ve been very fortunate to be in the situation I am in and decided it was time to do a little more. So on Friday, I’ll be hopping on a plane to Guatemala.
I’m not the only one that decided to do a little more. There are four surgeons, four general dentists, and about twenty support staff joining us on the 9 day adventure. The surgeons will be doing cleft lip/cleft palate surgeries. These surgeries will completely change a person’s life. In a third world country, some view a person with a cleft lip or palate to be possessed by demons and evil spirits and they can be banned from their village or community. So when the surgeons complete a surgery like this, those people many times are welcomed by to society. It’s a very powerful thing. The dentists such as myself, will be seeing adults and kids doing things such as fillings and extractions. We’ll be headed to the villages and setting up rooms in churches and schools with portable dental equipment. I doubt that I’ll be talking too much about whitening and veneers.
My hope is that this trip will put things in perspective and to demonstrate even further how lucky we are to have the things we have. I posted several times back about our trip to Greece and how there dental system was not quite to the standards we have here. Well I’m sure this trip will also demonstrate those differences even further. My other hope is that we help people. It really is the reason why we all got into the healthcare field in the first place. These people do not have access to care and may have never seen a dentist. So we’ll see how they react to receiving care. Regardless, I’m sure they will be appeciative for any care that can be provided.
I’ll post again with some photos when I return. In the meantime, give someone you care about a hug and be appreciative they are in your life.