NorthWood Dental Team September 2015October 12, 2015
NorthWood Dental Team September 2015 – First trip to Vietnam
A 4 member team from Texas came to Hanoi from September 18th - 24th with the purpose of conducting dental exams, cleaning and treating hundreds of children at the Birla Orphanage, SS3 Orphanage and a school in the Chuong My District (in Hanoi).
This was the team’s first time in Vietnam so everything was new and very different for them. They were not sure what to expect! Much to their surprise they did more than they could have imagined and impacted all those they encountered in amazing ways.
During the first 2 days in Hanoi, the Dental team visited the Birla Orphanage where they cleaned teeth, treated patients with urgent needs, played games and just got to know the kids. While this was the first trip of its kind, the team quickly acclimated to the environment and developed an organized system so they could see as many children as possible.
In addition to the dental work, the team was able to spend time with the children and elderly at the SS3 Orphanage. They pampered the elderly with manicures and spent time getting to know them, developing relationships with their new friends. They were also able to spend time with the teacher and children at Rainbow Kinder (pre-school program at SS3). This was a special time!
The last 2 days, the Dental team spent time in the Chuong My District where they checked the dental health of 500 students at the Chuong My Middle School. To be able to see as many patients as they saw and do as much treatment as they did, was literally impossible. This was miraculous!
The students welcomed the team and treated them as if they were celebrities (they had not seen many foreigners before). In fact, after the team was finished with the dental work, all the students stayed at school and waited to take pictures and ask for the team’s autograph. This was a precious moment and made the team feel so special.
The trip was filled with special memories and the beginning of some very special friendships. This was hopefully the first of many more trips in the coming years!
My first trip with GVI - As a student this was my first time volunteering as a translator for GVI and I want to share my experience - Loan
For my new friends – the Dental team from Texas:
I was so lucky to meet the four of you. Though you are not my first foreign friends, you are the most special ones to me. On the first day, I couldn’t remember all your names, only Autumn. I was also a little shy to talk to you since this was my first trip with GVI- but that changed quickly. We talked to each other a lot when playing with the kids and cleaning the dental tools. We shared about our own culture. Those talks helped me to know more about America, about your home - in Texas - and understand some differences between my country and yours. Although this was a short trip I learned so many things. What stood out was your LOVE - the love you gave to other people, your friends, the elderly, and the kids. You put your family and your daily work aside to come to a new and faraway country to help others. Coming here to do dental health work for the kids and others was so special and meant so much to them. I was so impressed by the way you played with the kids at Birla Orphanage and the way you talked to and washed the elder’s hands at SS3. This inspired me and made me love them more. What beautiful examples you all are! I wish the very best things for you and your family and hope to see you soon!
For GVI staff:
I am so happy to have met you guys – Ms. Little Thao, Ms. Tra, Minh and Ms. Hau (a volunteer dentist from Hanoi). You all are such lovely and friendly people. Thank you for giving me the chance to join this trip – a trip that changed me and meant so much to me. I would never have understood how much volunteer activities meant if I had not joined the trip. I took away so many things from these experiences that were lovely and beautiful. Everything from Ms. Little Thao encouraging me to Ms. Hau always keeping our group laughing and smiling. She was one of the highlights of the trip. There are so many more things I could share but one thing is for certain - GVI and my new friends have changed me and inspired me. Thank you all for that!
Wishing all the best things for my friends!