Volunteer trip – student reflection

In December of last year 14 Doctor of Dental Surgery students visited Cambodia to volunteer their time in rural communities. Fourth year DDS student Jamie Kang recalls the experience.

We were situated three hours from the capital, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. From here, we made our way to the rural community, a further hour and half drive down a bumpy dirt road from where we were staying. Along the way, we watched as we drove behind an old truck, with all the dental chairs, mobile dental units and materials we needed in order to help serve the community. There was a different kind of traffic jam along this road, involving herds of cows and potholes.

We did the best we could with the equipment we could bring. Set up in an old cobweb filled building, bumping elbows with each other as we tried to maximise the space we had available. As we all slowly learnt some broken Khmer language from the single Cambodian dental student we had with us, we were able to communicate with the members of the community in order to work out what we could do for them.

The most rewarding part of this experience was to see how appreciative each and every one of our patients were. Our only regret was that we would not be around to provide them with the continued care that they need.