Our blessings are not possessions but the love we have in our hearts for those we love and those we do not know. When you give without expecting anything in return, your heart grows bigger.
My name is Mandee. I am a Surgical Dental Assistant for Scholes Periodontics and Implants. I have been a dental assistant for over 14 years. I have worked in several fields of Dentistry. I love having a job that impacts those we treat. I also love the opportunity it recently let me experience.
I recently traveled with members of our dental team and other volunteers to the Dominican Republic. We traveled with Lift a Life to treat the residents of Bayaguana, Dominican Republic. Prior to our trip, we reached out to those we knew (and those we didn’t) for donations and contributions. I was amazed at the kindness and love in the hearts of these people. Not for us, but for the people of Bayaguana. We received monetary donations, supplies and love from those who gave. We were able to take hygiene kits to give to the residents. These kits included a toothbrush, washcloth, toothpaste, comb and a bar of soap. Things that seem insignificant to us but an amazing and much needed gift to those who received them.
I was not sure what to expect when arriving there. I have never left our country before. I was scared and had preconceived notions of the people in the Dominican Republic. Well, let me tell you! The people I met and had the pleasure of treating with our team blew away my mind. It is a beautiful culture and a beautiful country. The people are humble, kind, and giving. It is a poor country, but the citizens made them seem rich in ways we are not.
We were able to treat hundreds of citizens in Bayaguana. We were able to get them out of pain and help heal their mouths. They also received dental cleanings. We extracted over a hundred teeth. Gave the patients pain meds and antibiotics to ease the pain and heal the infections in their mouths. They all sat eagerly in the dental chair and waited to be released from the pain in their mouths. They thanked us and left with a smile. We rarely receive that kind of gratitude here in the states. They didn’t ask for nitrous, pillow, anxiety medication or whatever luxury we afford them here. All these people wanted was to be free of pain and infection.
Lessons Learned and a Change of Heart
I learned a lot from my trip to Bayaguana. I learned about myself and about others. The good and the bad. The good. How amazing and precious life and humanity is. That when we look around and see what we have, we see how rich and blessed we are. Even if it is not the most expensive or glamorous. Our blessings are not possessions but the love we have in our hearts for those we love and those we do not know. When you give without expecting anything in return, your heart grows bigger. You learn to love yourself more and those around you. Now the bad! I learned how selfish I was, unintentionally. I have always known how blessed I was. But it really hit home going to Bayaguana. I learned how poor I was. How much I was lacking in my heart. My eyes are open now, wider than before. I also learned how rich the people of Bayaguana are. How big their hearts are. How much they possess without all the possessions.
I would like to thank Lift a Life, Mr. Illens, Dr. and Janie Scholes. I also express my gratitude to all the people who made this trip happen including Nobel BioCare for their donations; and last but not least, the beautiful people of Bayaguana.
Authored by Mandee Jasso