It was another great year serving the students and staff at Makarios school in the Dominican Republic. I am truly grateful to all of our patients who support our practice throughout the year and help us to continue to grow through the referral of your friends and family. It is through this support and trust that we are able to make these types of trips possible. It was a special treat this year as I was able to take a couple of my staff members along as well to share in the experience!
A little bit about our trip:
Makarios International Christian school was founded as a way to provide a Christian education, 2 meals a day, medical and dental care to kids who have very few, if any, opportunities in the Dominican Republic. Most of the students are actually Haitian refugees. Even though the Dominican Republic is a very poor nation by US standards, it has seen an influx of refugees from Haiti trying to escape the bleak conditions of their own country. This has led to tension between the two groups, because they are now competing for the few jobs and opportunities that exist in the region. I met a very smart and intelligent translator from Haiti who is fluent in 3 languages but cannot get a job because “employers won’t hire Haitians”. Additionally, because education resources are so limited, many Haitian kids are not afforded the chance to get even a basic education.
This is what makes Makarios so special. They give priority to Haitian refugees to enroll in their school, (currently 70% of the students are Haitian) and work to integrate Dominican and Haitian kids under one roof. The Dominican and Haitian kids going to school together has been instrumental in tearing down social walls that have been built in the area. This has led to divided communities being healed as the kids from both countries become friends and eventually even marry each other!
The dental need is great down there. Even though we were able to see about 200 patients throughout the 5 days, I estimate that we were only able to treat about 10% of the dental issues that we found. Dentistry can be scary for any kid, but many of these kids come from such unstable homes that gaining their trust can be even more difficult. However, we keep chipping away the best we can and each year we’re there, we gain a little more of their trust which allows us to get more of their needs addressed.
I invite you to check out the pictures here
Until next year,