Volunteering with Rise Above in the Philippines: Dental Mission! - Vikingess Voyages

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Volunteering with Rise Above in the Philippines: Dental Mission!

Yuma and I returned to Cebu on Saturday, and in the evening Yuma left the Philippines going back to Tokyo to work. Me on the other hand had still a couple of more days to go, and I had decided to spend my two last days volunteering.
An illustration of how to brush your teeth.
The NGO I had been working for, the Rise Above Foundation, was arranging a "dental mission" in the local area where they with help from dentist interns from a Danish university offered free dental checkup and services to poor people in the area who were experiencing problems with their teeth. My task was to assist one of the dentist to make the operations go more smoothly and efficient, which meant that I mainly gathered new equipment between each patient, held the flashlight while the dentist was operating and so on.
Me as a dentist assistant
To be honest the whole procedure made me feel a bit uncomfortable, I think a saw more blood in one day than I've seen my whole life (except for in movies of course). Tooth brushing is something that many poor Filipinos don't do, and in combination with all the unhealthy beverages people consume here it is quite evident that the average person's dental health is rather poor..
In other words, there were a lot of cavities and resultantly many teeth that had to be pulled out. And since I was the one to hold the flashlight I had to make sure that the ray of light hit the right spot even if I'd rather liked to look another direction. YUK.. Haha..
Doing the "hard" work of holding a flashlight for the dentist intern.
I'm really impressed by the work of the interns though, they did an amazing job. I think that such intern programs should be offered by more universities, because it gives the students valuable insight into other cultures, and not to mention that it can raise awareness among people about the life conditions of less fortunate people all over the world. One thing is to see it on TV, but another thing is to go out there and actually experience it for yourself.
And I have to say; with all those nasty teeth to pull out or fill in I bet the interns get more and tougher challenges and experiences during the one week working for the Dental Mission than they do during a whole year working in Denmark..
People waiting to get their teeth checked
Kids outside the school building who wanted me to take their picture

It was a really interesting experience for me to participate in the Dental Mission, and along with my last day at the Family Care Centre it was a nice way to end my holiday in the Philippines. My holiday might have come to an end, but I'm ready for more adventures back in Japan!

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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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