Alis Fleming Uganda
In June 2023 I headed out to Uganda to volunteer with Dentaid The Dental Charity. We met at Heathrow Airport and travelled together as a team, there were 12 of us in total. We arrived in Entebbe and spent our first-night bonding and getting to know each other. It was so nice how quickly we all got along. We had our first group meeting covering what to expect from the trip, raise any concerns, and discuss any questions we had. This was really useful and prepared us all for our clinical days. Our first clinical day was in Foodstep which is an orphanage just outside Entebbe. We set up our clinic and treated a total of 139 children on our first day. I was on the fluoride station with a hygienist and we gave oral health instructions to the children. We were able to give demonstrations and give out toothbrushes and toothpaste for them to keep.
We then had a day off and headed to Lake Mburo where we stayed in tents with the most incredible views. We could hear all sorts of wildlife and there were so many creatures such as frogs and geckos. We then went to a game drive safari and we saw baboons, zebras and even got to step out the rover to get up close to the giraffes. On our way to Ruhanga we got to stop at the equator! We did clinics in the churches and schools in Ruhanga. We got to meet some of the people in the village and experience traditional Ugandan food such as goat, matoke, rice and beans. We ate this under the stars and saw fireflies. It was such a magical moment for us all.
We then headed to Kabale and treated many more patients. Our clinics were in beautiful settings such as churches on top of the mountains. Everyone was so welcoming -some people even sang to us on arrival. After each clinical day we got to spend time with the kids, singing and dancing with them, which was such a wholesome experience. We got to spend some downtime in Lake Bunionyi and we kayaked on tree trunks, swam in the lake and played games with the team. We also got to visit Punishment Island which was very moving.
We then did some more clinical days in Mbarara which included a prison. This was a very difficult experience but no words can describe the feeling of being able to help others. This experience with Dentaid has been incredible and I can’t wait to plan to go back. I have met friends for life, had the most incredible experiences and helped many people. In total we treated 1,902 patients.
I would recommend a Dentaid overseas volunteering experience to anyone and everyone!
Written by Alis Fleming – Dental Nurse