Smiles for Life, March 2011--Dominican Republic

I have been meaning to post this for weeks, but I am just getting to it. Exactly a month ago today, I left with a team of dentists, hygenists, assistants and volunteers across the country headed for the Dominican Republic. I have been fortunate to go 2 years in a row, and aside from my mission, both trips have been some of the most memorable, meaningful experiences in my life. My dear friend and Bishop, Greg Anderson, runs a non-profit organization called Smiles for Life. They raise money and send dentists down 3 times a year to do humanitarian dentistry. Esperanza International works with Smiles for Life and they are an amazing organization that gives micro loans to mainly women in the community. They are an incredible group and so much fun to work with. The associates of Esperanza are those who receive the dental work. It's a really great partnership! We did 4 days of clinics, 1 day of painting and fixing up a yard, and a day and a half of rest and relaxation at the end.
Esperanza picked us up from the airport.

We went shopping and to this lovely plaza in colonial Santo Domingo
This was the group awaiting dentistry at our first clinic

The team working

Playing with the kids

Emily and I hanging out with some kids

Santo Domingo temple

The restaurant we went to Sunday after church

I loved this Dominican Security worker. He was lovely!

Vicky Valle and me. Vicky and her  husband, David, started Esperanza Internation. She is amazing!

I worked with Dr. Gloria last year and assisted her this time as well. She is one of the Dominican dentists we work with.

Greggers! My favorite!

Al trying to pet a pig!
This was the whole team on the last day of clinics.

This is Kelaini teaching the guys how to dance

On Thursday we all went to paint some houses and build a long-drop for an associate of Esperanza and her family.
We had to take special trucks on a dirt road up a huge hill. It was really beautiful

Reaching the home of Yocimara and Juan

Checking out the houses to paint

Could these little guys be any cuter?


These steller men built the long-drop!

Sandra planting flowers!
More painting

Our resort we stayed in the last day and a half

Last night in the DR.

I had such an amazing experience and am so grateful for all the wonderful people I met and all the amazing experiences I had. I could post a million pictures and talk about it for hours, but I thought I'd rather let the pics do all the work.
If you would like to know more about Esperanza, you can visit http://www.esperanza.org/ and if you would like to know more about Smiles for Life, you can visit http://www.smilesforlife.org/.

This is my favorite pic, so I saved it for last. After our last day of clinic on Wednesday night we were all getting off the bus and just started jumping in the pool in our scrubs.  It was such a blast!

No comments:

Post a Comment