Our special thanks to UK dental nurse Gina Goddard, who responded to a message on Facebook asking for dental volunteers. Gina accepted the mission and weeks later, she was heading to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco for an experience of a lifetime…
Words by Gina Goddard.
“So there I was, bored on a Saturday morning flicking through my Facebook newsfeed and there it was……
A post that was going to make such a huge difference to my life.
It was an advert from a dental nurse on a dental nursing group page asking for volunteers to travel to Morocco to help treat people in underprivileged areas, since two people had to drop out for personal reasons at short notice. The initiative was organised by the Dental Mavericks in partnership with the Eve Branson Foundation.
It popped out of the screen at me and was shouting at me to act on it!
Two hours later and my mum had kindly agreed to look after my children, our part time nurse had agreed to cover my shifts and I was just waiting on our Principal Dentist to return my call……. My phone rang, it was her!
After I explained the situation and told her how much it would mean to me and that I had already arranged for cover to be in place she agreed to let me have the time off.
One email later to ‘The Dental Mavericks’ and I was on the team and in three weeks I would be travelling on my own to Marrakesh. I was full of nerves and excitement not knowing what I would be letting myself in for, but knowing I was so fortunate to be able to have this opportunity.
Well it certainly didn’t disappoint. We were taken to our Riad where we had time to settle into our rooms before dinner and to chat to acquaint ourselves with one another.”
Over dinner the plan of action for the following two days was discussed and we were all excited for the events of the next two days to unfold.
The following morning after breakfast we walked up to the local creche which we would be transforming into a makeshift dental surgery. We had all been assigned tasks so the set up would be efficient and we could open to the doors to the masses as soon as possible.
By 10:00am the doors were opened to the largest queue I have seen! There was an abundance of children and adults alike all needing our help as a matter of urgency.
We worked tirelessly with only a short lunch break but the satisfaction we were getting from the job we were doing more than made up for that!
I made lots of new little friends who were mesmerised by my Snapchat filters on my phone, it seemed to put them at ease and I was astounded by the bravery of these little mites at putting their trust in us with the language barrier. (Although we had the assistance of some fabulous translators).
In the two days we worked here we saw a total of 476 patients for treatments, fluoride applications, extractions and some restorations where necessary and in the time available.
The equipment we had was basic, but we worked with what we had and we all pulled together to work effectively as a team.
I was so sad to leave when my time came to an end.
I cannot begin to explain how much of an impact this experience has had on me, but to maybe give you a slight insight, I can tell you I have reserved my place for the next project in October and the next two projects in May 2018. Not only that, I have enrolled and already begun a course in Arabic in the hope that I will be able to go that extra mile to help put my little friends more at ease next time!
Shukran Dental Mavericks!”