What is your name and favorite activity? My name is Reema and my favorite activity is Yoga
How did you decide to embark on a mission trip? After completing dental school in Jordan, I provided free dental care to Syrian Refugees and ever since then I have always wanted to do that again. So after all these years, I am glad I was able to do it.
Where did you go? A very remote village called Comitancillo in the mountains of San Marcos, Guatemala.
What will you remember the most? The people there were very humble and appreciative of the dental treatment I provided. For example, I provided a patient with a cleaning and he was so happy that he gave me the biggest and most genuine hug that I’ve ever received from a patient. It definitely touched my heart to think of how thankful he was. I remember a young girl started crying after getting her front teeth restored because she could finally smile again. It was the best feeling in the world to see how much we could change the lives of people.
What pearls of wisdom did you bring back with you? It reminds me of why I got into my profession. It makes me want to be a better person and a doctor. We can get caught up in the routine of our daily lives and when we are taken out of our routine and comfort zones, then we realize what we are blessed with and how much power we truly have in making the world a better place.
What did you learn? I became more confident in myself as person and a dental provider. With all the support I received from my fellow volunteers it made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I’m very hard on myself to be the best, and they encouraged and affirmed me. I also appreciated how dedicated my team was, how they used each other’s knowledge and talent to find the best treatment that each patient needed. Everyone worked together so flawlessly, it was an amazing thing.
What was your favorite food there? The banana pancakes that we had every morning, I don’t even like bananas, but they were amazing. Also the salsa there was made fresh every morning, I’ll definitely miss that.
What did you miss while you there? I missed the luxury of having my own bathroom, it wasn’t the worst thing, but I definitely missed that.
What advice do you have for anyone going on a mission trip? Go with the right intentions and an open heart, no matter what happens or how uncomfortable you become, having the right intentions will always make your experience a positive one.
Any interesting experiences? I hiked an active volcano, which was a pretty cool experience, we even roasted marshmallows from the heat of the volcano. Also our patients got to take family pictures after they finished treatment and pick shoes for their kids or themselves. It was great to see the patients so happy.
How do you feel that the trip changed you? I am just a happier person, it was a humbling experience and the experience made you feel good every single day. You come home exhausted, but it is a good kind of exhaustion.