Mid-way through the clinic, energetic volunteers have completed care on the first of two populations scheduled for treatment in our Cambodian dental clinic.

Now comes the tricky part, getting the next set of children on the docket to the clinic. Logistics we seldom consider back home become real barriers to providing care here in the developing world.

Schools neither have their own buses nor access to a borrowed one. Most families in Cambodia do not own a car and it is too far to the dental clinic by the most common mode of transportation – a bike. Enter Bunny, one of our volunteer local partners: he swiftly takes off with the van meant 2015-01-26 09.46.24for volunteers and returns thirty minutes later – it’s stuffed to the brim with children! As kids pour out of the van, Bunny hops out, grinning from ear to ear: “we have the kids!”

When not organizing the patient plan for our dental clinics, Bunny – a 32 year old Cambodian who works for a local non-profit, HUSK – is busy in the clinic. He jets around outside, teaching Cambodian and US volunteers the ropes, managing oral health education and generally ensuring that total chaos does not erupt as more than a 2015-01-26 08.30.25 HDRhundred children pass through the clinic each day. Today he is working with Dorn and Pat McClory – who is on her third trip with GDR – deftly guiding them through the patient check-out and record keeping process.

Dorn, another Cambodian volunteer who works at the Shinta Mani hotel, stops me as I pass by, “Miss Kim, you have given me the most valuable experience of my life, the chance to help my people. I will always be grateful for this time. Your care, the care of your volunteers has touched my heart and the hearts of the Cambodian people.”

And so the days here continue – with GDR volunteers hard at work and Cambodian partners laying the ground work to allow that effort to permeate the lives of these special children. One cannot exist without the other. As I reflect on the week I realize that my heart too is filled, witnessing firsthand people from different cultures come together with a common purpose, to improve the lives of Cambodian children.

Volunteering Worlds Away

Posted on May 24, 2019. How do you end up closer to home when you’re volunteering thousands of miles away? We had just arrived at the hotel in Guatemala. I was gearing up to run a seven-chair dental clinic with 18 volunteers. I glanced over at the new volunteers just... Read more »

Eat Like a Local in Guatemala!

Posted on May 9, 2019. Check out the article, “Eating like a local in Guatemala!” to hear about one of the many reasons you should join Global Dental Relief in Guatemala this summer! You can find the full article by clicking here. Are you a dentist or hygienist? Have you... Read more »

Destination Guatemala!

Posted on April 30, 2019. Global Dental Relief board member and long-time friend of the organization, Caroline Hagadorn, reflects on her experience in Guatemala. Front Porch, a Denver based newspaper, recently featured her story. Caroline and her family spent a month living, exploring and adventuring in Guatemala. During their time,... Read more »

Community Service and Travel – the Buddy System

Posted on April 11, 2019. I am an eager and avid traveler. Well, it’s more accurate to say eager than avid as I have travelled some, but not a lot. But I am hungry to travel more, especially now that I have retired. At the same time, there are times... Read more »

Laos

Posted on March 28, 2019. Laos means the land of a million elephants. Many travelers visit to see elephants, and we were no different. After working hard to provide complete dental care to 960 kids over six days in Cambodia, we flew to the ancient royal city of Luang Prabang... Read more »