Jamee Wiebe, a Dental Assisting – Level II grad from the RRC
Winkler Campus, was one of two students who got the chance to travel to
Guatemala for 11 days as part of a mission trip in July 2009. She, along with fellow
student Kaitlin Ward and Dental Assisting instructor Brian Minaker, joined a
group made up of dentists and doctors from across Canada and the United States.
The group was based out of the Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango (more commonly
known as Xela), but traveled to smaller communities in the surrounding area.
“We would go to a different town each day. I would help set
up and assist the dentists during the dental procedure,” says Wiebe, who
graduated last December and now works as a dental assistant at a dental clinic
in Winnipeg. The highly mobile group took three portable dental chairs and two
traveling units to perform fillings, as they visited the various communities.
They worked with the local population to promote good dental
care as well as perform fillings and tooth extractions.
“I found out that there are a lot of people in Guatemala
who, if they have a toothache or cavity, just get their teeth pulled out
instead of going to a dentist to get fillings,” says Wiebe. “It really makes
you appreciate what we have here and not take it for granted.”
The trip to Guatemala gave the students a chance to learn
about a different culture and get hands-on work experience that they’ll never
forget. Wiebe says it was an eye-opener for her and she plans on doing
something similar in the future. However, she’s quick to point out that even
with the beautiful scenery and hot weather, this trip was more than just
basking in the sun.
“It wasn’t anything fancy; that’s for sure. We were roughing
it out there, but it was worth it.”
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