Allan W. Stevenson, DDS General Dentist
www.trailridgefamilydental.com 205 W. Highway 95, Parma, ID 83660
Dispatches From Guatemala The Joys of Giving Back
We recently returned from our annual mission trip to Guatemala. It was an amazing experience — it always is — but it was made extra special this year by the fact that I was joined by my family, as well as members of our team at Trailridge Family Dental. These trips are always a chance to connect with people whose lives are very different than ours and experience the powerful feeling that comes from serving others. To share that with my wife and daughters is something I won’t soon forget. I am able to practice dentistry while on these mission trips, but it doesn’t even remotely resemble the work I do on a daily basis. The people of Guatemala, especially those in the rural areas we serve, don’t have access to regular dental care. As such, most of the work we do comes in the form of emergency dental interventions. Treating acute needs is part of my regular work, but it is rare that we see people whose teeth are in complete disrepair. In Guatemala, almost every patient needs something that we’d classify as extreme in the U.S. It’s tough work, and it’s hard to see people struggling with dental pain that most Americans will never experience, but helping them is what makes it so rewarding. As we were taking off, I could sense a slight feeling of trepidation in my daughters. That’s totally understandable because they were traveling to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language. It’s not hard to imagine the thoughts running through their heads. Would they be able to connect with local children? Would they be able to help? In short, would the trip be worth it for them?
Garden Box Team and Ladies of Last Group
able to communicate with locals and provide some education to children. More than that, though, they were able to share gifts and have fun with the Guatemalan children. There is a particular moment where I saw my youngest, Ellie, laughing and playing that stands out in my mind. To see her revel in service was beyond special for me. I’ve always known I’m very lucky to have a remarkable wife and amazing daughters, but this trip magnified that feeling like never before. The only bittersweet aspect of the trip was that one of our four daughters was unable to join us. She’s currently serving her mission in Lubbock, Texas, so though she wasn’t with us, she’s also been experiencing the power of service in her own way. We had such a great time that the trip to Guatemala will become an annual family tradition. I can’t wait for her to join us next year. I want to thank all of our patients who contributed to our mission trip. The fact that we have patients who delight in taking part in these outreach efforts humbles me immensely. I’m truly lucky to treat all of you.
I’m happy to report the answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes. With the help of bilingual aides, the girls were
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