However, it also was clear to them that the Guatemalan youngsters were desperate for books. The UIC students worked with Khatija Noorullah, the College’s Clinical Community Academic Manager, to request children’s books from the College community for the children in Guatemala. College faculty, staff, and students donated around 100 books.
“They were able to start a library in the school where they provided the clinical dental care, Susanna Wesley School,” Noorullah said. “It was great of the students to go the extra mile and for the College to participate so wholeheartedly.”
The school is located in Camanachaj in Guatemala’s rural highlands. It educates children in pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade.
During their rotation, the UIC students spent a day in another rural village, Nauhuala. In that one day alone, the four College of Dentistry students saw 65 patients and performed 118 extractions.
Pavel said, “What sticks with me most is the incredible affection of these children. From day one they held nothing back.
“One child in particular, Nehemias, has cerebral palsy and he was a true inspiration to all of us.” Pavel continued. “Not once did we see him without a huge smile on his face. Not only was he an excellent patient, but every time we would see him he would hold out his arms in anticipation for a big loving hug. We taught his mom how to properly brush his teeth since he may never gain enough coordination to do so.”
Furthermore, Pavel said, he learned the lesson “that in order to grow even greater as a person, I must immerse myself in new cultures and apply my skills towards aiding individuals around the world.”
All four of the College of Dentistry students graduated this year.
William S. Bike
William S. Bike