The turning point in my life came in 2001 when Dr. Jim Pattison, a postgraduate student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, came to serve at the camp. I was impressed by his white uniform, but what blew me away was his genuine concern for our welfare.
Since I could speak limited English, I became his assistant. I watched him change smiles and lives. I wanted to be like him. On the day of his departure, I asked him what I needed to do to be like him but His jaw dropped and he stared at me for one awkward minute. After breathing audibly hard, he said, “in the US, for anyone to be admitted into a dental school, you must have a first degree and must have completed a number of prerequisite courses”. I felt as if I had been hit in the head with a sledgehammer because the requirements were out of reach for me. I sweated profusely, my vision became blurry, and then it was all darkness. When I regained my consciousness, I found myself at the camp dispensary with Dr. Pattison by my side. I came to learn that he had missed his flight because he wanted to make sure that I was fine before he left. He had to wait another week to catch the next flight.