One of the pinnacles of my career was to have the opportunity to serve the poorest of the poor in the mountain village of Delatte, Haiti. I joined an existing dental mission team in 2017 and 2018. The first year I was accompanied by my daughter Roselyn, who is now a PA, and the second year. I was accompanied by a young college student who later entered into the profession of dentistry. This trip inspired me in ways that are hard to describe.
I immediately felt a bond to the people there that continues to this day. Though I did not speak their language of French Creole, I knew that I was connected to them by something greater. I, the other two dentists, and our support team provided free care to hundreds of Haitians who had been suffering from terrible dental conditions for years. They were exhausting days but the experience changed me in so many ways. Mostly, I was uplifted by their spirituality. These are people that many in the United States would have considered to be abandoned by God. Yet these hard-working people praised God for every small thing that they had.
There has not been a day since my last visit where I don’t think about them, and I was saddened that I could not return to them since my last visit in 2018 due to the dangerous conditions in the main city of Port Au Prince. I stay in touch with the priest of the village and continue to support them with contributions.
The life experience of being among them changed my perception of life, spirituality, and understanding of why I became a dentist. I quickly realized that my skills as a dentist were gifted to me. Even when having to complete the most difficult procedures, in a very primitive work environment, I felt a greater power at work, through me, and a hand on my back allowing successful completion.