This year, seven third year dental students, one fourth year dental student, three faculty members and one staff member embarked on a journey to Meru, Kenya for the fourth consecutive year. Prior to embarking on the journey, the dental team held numerous meetings, finalizing details for this present trip. When Monday, June 16th arrived, we hit the ground running, beginning the four projects for the 2014 KSRP program.
This year, we began relationships with new schools in the Meru area and continued with our established relationships. We were able to meet with the head masters (similar to our principals in the States) of each school, and begin conducting our surveys on Monday, June 16th. The first three days, we focused on completing an IQ survey, preventive education focus groups for high school students, oral exams and oral hygiene instructions on approximately 400+ students at 3 schools! Everyone worked extremely hard, ensuring that we were able to collect adequate data efficiently and effectively.
Our days typically begin with breakfast at 8am. We then embark to our schools at 8:30am, conduct our surveys, have lunch at 1:00pm, and go back out to collect more data at another school. Needless to say, by time dinner rolls around, we are all pretty hungry! After dinner, we go over the schedule for the next day and wind down for the rest of the night.
Time definitely seems to be flying by. It’s great for me to see the excitement on the students’ faces this year. Everyone really appreciates this experience. Students are trying to learn the native and national languages, communicate with children and adults and absorb as much of the Kenyan culture as they can! Seeing their excitement takes me back to last year, when I was experiencing the Kenyan culture for the first time. I really enjoy seeing everyone take this research program serious, hoping to make a difference any way they can. I’m pretty sure, the next few days, we will add more excitement to all of us!
Janelle is a D4 student crossing the equator any chance she gets!