We would like to start off by saying welcome, and thank you for checking out our blog. Through future posts, we hope to recap all of our expeditions and also provide you with fun and entertaining news about everything and anything dental, travel, and volunteering related. Our goal is simple. We’re here to promote a community that is rich in togetherness and enliven a new you.
Our expeditions are the right amount of hard work, fun, and inspiration. Our group consists of dentists, hygienists, dental students, hygiene students, and a handful of volunteers. We have set up the trips to accommodate the perfect balance between serving the communities, but also giving the volunteers enough time to explore the island and truly interact with the culture. It’s been proven to be a great bonding experience between offices and their staffs, an amazing learning and growing opportunity for the students, and a great interactive way to provide a sense of purpose and self worth to everyone we encounter.
This last March we went on our 8th expedition. Yes, our 8th! It’s crazy to even say that out loud. This time we traveled to the Dominican Republic and worked in a community called Zambrana located in the city of Cotui. The trip was split into two weeks to help accommodate everyone that wanted to participate, but there were very minor differences between the two weeks. It ended up being amazing for the community because it meant 2 straight weeks of services being provided to them. Win, win for everyone!
The expedition started on a Saturday, when everyone landed at the Santo Domingo airport. We all traveled together from the airport to our beach resort in Juan Dolio, where we enjoyed our first dinner as a group and laid low for the rest of the evening. Nothing beats unwinding from a long flight like the sun on your skin, the sound of the waves, and smell of the ocean.
The first Sunday of the trip was an absolute blast. We woke up really early and spent the day on Isla Saona. We sailed there on a catamaran that took us straight to the island where we relaxed, drank fresh coconut water, were provided with a delicious lunch, and truly got the opportunity to get to know one another. We had a very thrill seeking speed boat ride back to the main island that ended up leaving a few of us really excited to have our feet back on the ground. It was all in good fun though, and actually made for some great story telling during the remainder of the trip.
Monday came and we were all more than ready to get the work week started. Our large and very purple bus, fully equipped with wifi, transported us on a 3 hour trip to the mountainous Cibao region. We got dropped off at our work location, quickly set up shop and started seeing patients right away. We stayed in a hotel in this region during the week and provided our services to the community until Thursday afternoon. Both weeks combined, we ended up seeing a total of 421 patients. Within those patients, a total of 655 extractions, 280 operative procedures, 162 cleanings, and 12 root canals were completed. Can we get a woo woo!?! Also, on top of everyone that was treated, our amazing volunteers educated the local children at the school and provided them with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. Everyone seen received fluoride varnish and of course, there was plenty of time spent coloring and playing with the kids too.
To end the day on Thursday, we spent the last few hours at Salto de Jima. This is a state park where you can hike your way into the river and if you’re ambitious, you can hike a little further to several different spots with waterfalls. It was peaceful, relaxing, and absolutely beautiful! We just can’t get enough of this island.
Friday was spent touring the Barrick Gold Facility. Barrick is one of our key sustainability partners in the Dominican and they consistently donate their time and resources to the communities we serve. Here’s a fun fact, did you know that the Dominican Republic has the largest gold reserve in Latin
America, and the third largest in the world? Okay, that was actually two facts :).
After the tour, we traveled a short distance to a dam at the end of a lake in the mountains called Presa de Hatillo. Here, we toured around the lake on a boat house, danced – a lot, and witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets ever imaginable. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself…
And to end the trip, the group traveled to Santo Domingo where we spent the day in the Zona Colonial. We were true tourists this day and definitely did some major shopping. Lunch was INCREDIBLE and they even welcomed us with a traditional Dominican Merengue dance show just for us! It was the perfect ending to a very successful expedition.
When we started this organization, we really had one simple focus in mind – To help those less fortunate than us. However, Bright Island Outreach has evolved into something so much greater than we could have ever imagined. Knowing that makes us very excited to explore the future of our organization, and we look forward to sharing with you our story, our mission, and our passion.
Thanks again for stopping by!