Sam’s experience in Asni, May 2023
I had just been hired by Cally as the new coordinator for Dental Mavericks, and was due to start working in mid May. As Cally was there in Asni, prior to my start date, she said it would be great if I could join and I jumped at the chance. You can’t possibly understand this job without doing one of the trips, they really do have to be experienced to be believed. I would have had to wait at least six months for the next trip and that just wasn’t a possibility in my mind.
What surprised me on the trip was the poverty, the kindness, the generosity, the beauty and the food!!!! I got up at 4 am to catch my flight from Malaga, Morocco being only an hour and 10 minutes flight, I got to the hotel at 8.30 in the morning. Cally kindly told me I was welcome to go and rest if I wanted, but there was no way I was going to do that! As soon as I walked into the lovely hotel and was so warmly greeted by all the volunteers and translators I felt ready and eager to do as much as I could. Once we got to the clinic, the organisers had the forethought to provide shade and lots of people to help organise everyone who we were to see. Every person involved, our team, the foundation, the associations and the patients were just happy and wanted to make the whole process as smooth as possible. It wasn’t so much surprise as gratitude. But the food….wow!!! Delicious and so much of it, I couldn’t stop eating!
Every part of my experience was the best part, being able to help, meeting such wonderful people, working together for a worthy cause, all the interesting smiles, (some were in fact toothless but just as beautiful) and learning so much about what we all did as a team and the impact it had on so many lives.
Biggest challenge was how fast paced a job it is and you have to be on top of many different things, being sensitive to all aspects of what you are doing there and learning to do my job, whilst doing my job! I loved it.
The language barrier ended up being a lot of fun. I have some basic French which did help quite a bit, but this was French I learned a few decades ago, so my frustration lay more in not being able to answer rather than not understanding. After which, I was being taught basic phrases in Arabic and how to count in Berber, this made me anxious and had to get people to record it for me to revise at night, as I knew I would be tested the next day, it was so much fun and I have promised them and myself that I have to do some more studying before the next trip! I can’t wait.