Martha Davies, clinician at mydentist, Dukinfield is soon set to fly to Tanzania for two weeks to train emergency dental care to health workers. Her trip to travel with Bridge2Aid has been funded by mydentist after she was hand selected out of a large number of submissions, something they do every year for a couple of their clinicians. Here’s what she had to say when we spoke to her recently about her upcoming trip:
“I’ve been an NHS general dental practitioner since qualifying in 2000 and have been working for mydentist since 2012, when they acquired the practice I was working in.
“So why did I apply? Was it a chance to escape the husband and children for a few weeks? Not quite. Volunteering is something I’ve always wanted to do, even before starting dental school. When I first qualified I did not feel I had enough experience to volunteer overseas in environments that did not have all the facilities I was used to. Then life took over - marriage, mortgage, and kids. So I put the idea to the back of my mind as something to do once the kids had left home and the mortgage was paid, as I envisioned volunteering was something that I would have to commit several months to.
“A spark was reignited in me when I was at the first annual mydentist clinical conference. I watched a presentation from Bridge2Aid about the work they did and I just loved the idea and the sustainability of what they do. However, I still didn’t think much of myself being ready for it, caught up in my own life with my own ‘first world problems’. Then, this January I was reading the mydentist clinical newsletter in an unusual quiet moment. There was an article written by last year’s volunteers about how fulfilling their trips had been, and that mydentist were looking for the next batch of applications to be sponsored to travel this year. So, with the post-Christmas blues (dark days, tax bill to pay unending teeth broken on Christmas nuts) I realised there was something different I could do this year. I could give up two weeks of my time and make a difference. So I submitted a heart-felt application and was delighted to receive a place.
“I am so excited to be going; it has been at the forefront of my mind all year. Of course I am apprehensive. Teaching is not something I have done much of and then transferring my skills to a different environment - I keep having to reminding myself that I am skilled and I have learnt a lot over the years and yes I can pass this on to someone else. I am looking forward to being part of a like-minded team, experiencing another culture and visiting a part of the world I have not seen. I have been reminded that I did have others aims in life and have rediscovered a part of myself that I had put to one side. I can only imagine how this will develop once I’ve been and returned!”
Everybody at mydentist wishes Martha, Miles and Helen (who are also attending the trip) every success and enjoyment on their September trips! We look forward to hearing how it went.