The Hope Smiles team left the United States on June 28th for our second dental trip with Dr. Phillip Kemp and the team he assembled. The dental staff consists of two American dentists, two dental hygienists, three dental assistants, and a fourth year dental student. Dr. David Chua joined us from Melbourne, Australia. Two of Dr. Kemp’s sons have also been helping the team this year and we have three people helping with translation. On our first day at Maria’s Big House of Hope, the team set up eight portable dental chairs and got all of their instruments laid out, and afterward we toured Luoyang’s Old City before going to a Chinese duck restaurant.
The next day, it was wonderful to see the hall filled with waiting patients here on the fifth floor of Maria’s Big House of Hope. We know that going to the dentist here in China is somewhat of a luxury, especially in this province. Most of these nannies have only been to a Chinese dentist once or twice in their lifetime, if at all. Dr. Tesa Reeves said that she was surprised to realize that many of the reservations and fears the women have expressed here are the same worries she sees when she does free clinics at home in the United States. However, the nannies seemed much more comfortable overall and less fearful about having their teeth worked on this year, as several of them had been to our dental clinic last year and knew more about what to expect. Because of this, the team was able to see many more patients this year. The doctors and hygienist saw 35 patients on the first day, and each day they had a full schedule, working about 10 hours each day. On two of the clinic days, the team treated two busloads of nannies who traveled two hours from the Show Hope Special Care Center in Jiaozuo, in effect extending dental care and education to another city through these nannies.
On July 2, we celebrated the third anniversary of Maria’s Big House of Hope being open. We have all enjoyed playing with kids on short breaks from the clinic throughout the day. Cheri, my good buddy from last year, isn’t so sure about me this year. She has a stink eye that is so funny and adorable when she gives you the look.
It has been an awesome time serving with Dr. Kemp and his staff. The new team members who joined us this year have fit right in like they were here with us last year. The nannies are so appreciative, and the impact the team has is clear. We will be doing some sightseeing and shopping in Beijing before Melissa from Show Hope’s Communications Department leads the team home on July 7th. I will stay on for another trip that arrives on the 11th.