Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Dentist

Another volunteer and I left Buddhism class one morning to find all the younger monks lined up outside.  Her class was canceled because her students were standing outside.  We were told "the dentist is coming."   We had heard about the dentist very briefly the day before when we noticed that dental equipment was being dusted off and pulled out of storage.
We were given scarves and told to stand in line with the monks.  One of the school officials went around making sure the scarves were being held properly.  Two of the other volunteers and myself were simply confused about what was going on and the etiquette we were following.  
After Dr. Tom drove by the children in his vehicle, all the monks sat down on the steps and proceeded to be children.  They started playing with the scarves and playing with the dog, Angel.  We just kept standing there confused about what to do and then we were invited up to meet Dr. Tom.   The monks came in one at a time and Dr. Tom took the scarf from their hands and draped it over their shoulders and then they ran away.  We had a nice visit and introduction to Dr. Tom.  This was his 13th visit to Nepal to provide free dental care to the monks and the surrounding area.  He saw over 400 people during his short time at the monastery.  
I wanted a photo of the dental instruments, just to demonstrate the differences between dental care in the states and dental care in Nepal. Dr. Tom was extremely patient educating the monks who would be helping in the clinic all week about how to handle the instruments safely and correctly.  
Here one of the older monks is helping to teach a younger monk how to brush his teeth.  I saw this type of nurturing and gentleness all the time at the monastery.  These children come to the monastery when they are very young, and they form a family together.  There is no "mother" figure, no adult tucks them in, they simply take care of each other.   
Here is a photo of Dr. Tom examining some of the local school children's teeth.  He energy was so inspiring, he was simply a joy to be around.  He had the same funny and relaxed sense of humor from the first patient to the last.  

I am so grateful that I Dr. Tom came to visit while I was at the monastery.  He really inspired me to come back and to continue to help the monastery even when I walk out of the gates.  I had only been at the monastery a couple of days when he arrived and already the place had a piece of my heart.  I enjoyed hearing his story about how he got involved and helped build the monastery.  I look forward to brainstorming with him in the future.

Question to consider:  Who have you spent time with recently that always seems to have a ton of energy and is inspiring to be around?

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