Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Not only am I developing my clinical skills here in San Pancho, but learning many things that cannot be taught in a classroom. I've learned the strength of a community comes from respect and kindness as well as a lot of hard work. The world would benefit from learning and observing from the people of San Pancho.......Jenna

I have been touched by the love, support and gratefulness of the people in San Pancho. I was especially moved when a little girl allowed me to look inside her mouth for a dental screening. As she was leaving, she turned around and ran up to me with open arms, said something in Spanish to my ear,  then kissed me on the cheek. What a memorable moment that I will cherish forever........Tami

I am in awe of the real sense of community that I feel here in San Pancho; everyone says "Hola", and is happy to see you. The sense of community is also quite evident at the local community centre, called "EntreAmigos", which means "Among Friends".  This centre was built and is used by the whole community. It houses a library, in English and Spanish; it has a sports/gymnastics area; and it provides workshops and homework help for anyone and everyone for free. This centre is truly inspiring and I feel grateful that I was invited to be part of their community, and to be welcomed "among friends"...............................  Jenny

The first day I saw things I have never seen before; a young boy came up to me and pointed at his tooth.. I asked if it hurt and he nodded. We took a look, and found that he had over 6 teeth so destroyed by decay that the only recourse is for them to be extracted. However,  he could not afford to go to the dentist. It was and still is extremely overwhelming for me at times that we can only do so much.  This experience here has been life changing and extremely satisfying knowing that I am giving some help to people who are so much in need. It is humbling as inspite of it all, they still manage to be the happiest, kindest and most grateful people I have ever met..........................................................Maria

This is my first big trip with a purpose rather than just as a vacation, and it feels absolutely amazing. I originally chose a career in dental hygiene as a means of traveling while working abroad, so it's safe to say this is the first of many trips with a pleasure-purpose blend. What I didn't know was how much this trip would change the way I provide care to every client laying vulnerable in my chair. Most of our clients back home know more or less what to expect when they visit the dentist and are much more desensitized to everything involved in a cleaning, like the amount of water used while using the ultrasonic machine, anesthetic use, and the sensitivity that may come with instrumentation. I was so hesitant to use my instruments in deep gingival pockets as I didn't want to scare my clients here in Mexico, knowing that access to a dentist is rare. Nevertheless, I found the Mexican people are more concerned with how I am feeling. One of my clients sat in my chair for over three hours without a water or bathroom break and he was more concerned about how I was doing and if I was sore or tired. It became easier to provide care on a client who had tenacious deposit and deep pockets knowing that I would be doing more harm than good if I wasn't assertive enough in removing what's causing their inflammation.  It also breaks my heart to see so much decay in the children's teeth when it might be prevented by simple nutrition and self care instruction with the parents. Needless to say, the 4 days working in EntreAmigos was both mentally and physically exhausting, but very rewarding. While I still dream of being a traveling dental hygienist, this trip has given me a taste of how much energy would be required to do so. San Pancho is only one small town out of thousands that need the healing touch of a dental hygienist. I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for this opportunity as the first experience of doing what I love and feeling the rewards instantly..........................................................................Siarra

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