Monday, June 2, 2014

Reflections from our graduates...

The experience I had in San Pancho helped me grow both professionally and personally. My clinical experience there reinforced the need for individually- based treatment planning and recommendations. It is important to know the resources that a community and the individual has for themselves, so unrealistic goals are not made. 

The people of San Pancho were very thoughtful and enjoy building new relationships. I was welcomed into their lives with open arms and built new friendships. They believe that family and friends are a major priority in their lives. I also consider this as a priority in my life, however during school I did not get the opportunity to see my friends as often as I would have liked. Now that I have graduated,  I look forward to reestablishing my relationships.  I believe our own community can learn from San Pancho and step back for a moment and be thankful for everything and everyone in our lives................  Brittany

The Mexico Field School was an amazing experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. It was so hard to say goodbye to a community that displays so much love, support, and happiness. The San Pancho community welcomed us like we were family. Personally, I feel like I gained a sense of what family is really about. Family is much more than who you are related to, it is about coming together as a community. This is something that San Pancho showed me by simply saying "hola" with a smile while walking down the street. This is something that is so simple but yet so hard to do back home because we are always rushing or we have our heads buried in our cell phones. I didn’t see anyone ever walking down the street looking at their phones or rushing as if they were late. The San Pancho people enjoy and live within the moment. Another aspect of San Pancho that moved me were the kids. I always saw them playing outside with a ball, swinging on a rope swing or just getting dirty. They always had smiles on their faces even though they did not have electronics or fancy things. They seemed far more happy than the kids back home even though they had much less. This made me think that we could learn a lot from the people about what fun, family, friends, and love is all about. Overall, the two weeks that I spent in Mexico allowed me to grow in so many ways and I will continue to become a better person in our community back home. Thank you to the whole community of San Pancho!...................................................................................................................    Tami

I went into this trip excited for the clinical experience I would gain by working within a practice model that was very different from private practice. I knew I would be challenged,  and I welcomed that concept openly.  I was not disappointed in this aspect.  I was indeed challenged daily in clinic by the equipment, instruments,  ergonomics, and the level of difficulty of the clients,  and grew tremendously in my client management,  efficiency and deposit detection.  
Before arriving,  I expected to build relationships within our small group and have limited interactions with people within the community. However,  when I arrived,  I was instantly welcomed into the San Pancho family with wide open arms. I am leaving deeply touched by the level of trust I feel towards the people in San Pancho.  I was invited to share a meal or a swim with the people I met,  and I was approached on the street with a smile,  a "beso" on the cheek and an "abrazo". Taking the time to stop and greet people fully,  with full eye contact and genuine interest in another person allowed me to build incredible relationships and connections that I will treasure always.  When I was with my San Pancho family,  I always felt safe and looked after and cared for,  whether it was showing me the best spots to eat,  teaching me how to be "chilo", introducing me to their friends, or not leaving my side when out on the town.
 The community places such high value on family and community,  and once I was part of their family,  I was watched and protected and welcomed just like anyone in their immediate family. 
On my last day,  I was told: 'you will always be welcome in San Pancho'. So although leaving is breaking my heart,  I know I will return home to my San Pancho family soon..............................................     Carla

I had heard about the San Pancho field school prior to applying for my seat in the dental hygiene program, and thought, "that would be an amazing opportunity to help those in need".   

This field school allowed me to not only work on my clinical skills, but showed me how valuable and needed these skills are for this community.  Many members of this community would not normally receive dental hygiene care as access to dental services is limited.

Meeting clients who had come to us for their very first dental experience in their lives, reminded me of how lucky the majority of us are in Canada.  I felt these clients truly appreciated the care provided and had a genuine desire to improve their overall health and their oral health.  I remember one client in particular that I had run into by the beach where she was selling her hand-made crafts.  She instantly recognized me and pointed to her teeth, then gave me a huge smile.  At that moment, not only could I see how healthy her gums looked after her treatment, but I could see how happy she was.  Although there were times that I felt I hadn't done enough work to help the community, it was  moments like these that told me that what help I did give had made a difference in those patient's lives.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to San Pancho and meet the wonderful people of this amazing town.  I won't say goodbye, because I know that I will be back one day to continue on with providing dental hygiene treatment.  Until then, ¡hasta luego!..............................  Jenny

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