For her fourth mission trip with Kindness in Action, Dr. Simoens traveled to Ecuador, and served as a supervisor for three dental students from the University of Manitoba.
About This Mission
My fourth mission trip with Kindness in Action (preceded by Peru, Guatemala and Costa Rica) brought me to Ecuador. I served as a supervisor for three dental students from the University of Manitoba and also had the pleasure of being accompanied by two dental assistants I had been working with at the time.
About Kindness In Action
Kindness in Action is a Canadian non-profit charitable organization whose primary goal is to provide dental health services to under-privileged people all around the world. The organization started in 1993, under the direction of Dr. Amil Shapka of St. Paul, Alberta.
It has now grown to over 200 volunteers and fully embraces its motto "delivering compassionate care while respecting the dignity of those in need."
Healthy Smiles in Ecuador
After this mission, everyone described it as a 'jungle adventure' as we worked in small villages (different ones each day) in the Amazon jungle area. Our 'home base' was the small town of Tena, roughly 4 1/2 hours from the capital of Quito.
Some days felt very long as the weather was quite humid and reached as high as 45 deg. celcius! The appreciation from the local people we came to help was the driving force that warded off exhaustion and often transformed it into excitement and joy. The like-minded individuals on this trip proved to be great motivators and fast friends.
In addition to the work we did during the day, the 'jungle adventure' included cultural food and events such as dinners of tilapia wrapped in banana leaves, Chontacuro worms, a day trip to the equator and my personal favourite, a visit to a Shaman's hut deep in the jungle.
Needless to say, it was an experience that will not be forgotten.
Volunteering in Tena, Ecuador was a humbling experience. We worked in an open air facility protected only by a tin roof. Here we provided much needed fillings and extractions to local school children some of whom had never owned a pair of shoes much less saw a dentist.