By: Trisha Bhamra, Camosun College, winner of the BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship
Study Abroad Destination: Mexico
It has been a couple weeks since my return to Canada from Mexico. Needless to say, this trip was one of the best things I could have done to not only grow as an individual but also grow as a dental professional. In my last blog post (Part I and Part II), I had mentioned the epic four days of the clinic we had at San Pancho and all the amazing cultural education we experienced regarding the town of San Pancho. After the clinic days, we were at the tail end of the trip…a few more days to go visit some more schools for dental education, another trip to Sayulita and a few more days to relax and enjoy the majestic beach of San Pancho.
We had a blast visiting more schools and educating roughly 200 more children regarding dental health. We also had the opportunity to visit the dental department of the hospital at San Pancho. The “ dental department” was the size of a closet. The whole hospital was quite small and all the departments were essentially closet-sized rooms….all in one row. It definitely made me realize how privileged we are here in Canada with our functioning healthcare and government. I definitely have taken all our daily necessities for granted…
Back in the dental department of the hospital, we met Dr Misail. He is the dental department head and the only appointed dentist at the hospital. He used to have a private practice in Mexico City, however, he felt that he was unable to help the people in need there, so he decided to apply for a job at the hospital and serve the less deserved people from there. The journey to getting appointed as the dentist at the hospital was not easy. Misail had to work in the manual labour departments of the hospital for four years before he was able to get the job as the dentist. Government jobs are extremely hard to get into in Mexico and you have to know the “right“ people, which makes it extremely hard for an outsider to join. Misail is doing a great job and Camosun Dental Clinic is working towards helping him and his team as much as possible with supplies.
On the second last day, we decided to head to Sayulita again for some surfing and shopping. It was a great day of relaxation and buying last minute souvenirs. We spent the last day in San Pancho at a party thrown in our honour by the owners of El Gaello (local restaurant). It was a great way to end the trip - enjoying great food and dancing with the locals.
All in all this whole experience was amazing. Even amazing doesn’t sum up the lessons I learned in the short time I was there. I am already dreaming of going back next year as a senior student and perhaps in the future as an alumnus. Next time I will remember to take the BCSA teddy bear with me for the dental adventures in Mexico.