Dr. Ron O’Neal, a board Member of Village Partners International, along with fellow medical professionals, travel each year to a remote area in Mombin-Crochu, Haiti to provide dental care to local villagers. The mission of Village Partners International is to partner with select impoverished world villages to help them help themselves. It is quite an adventure in order to reach the destination. After a commercial plane trip from Miami to Port-Au-Prince, the group boards a smaller airplane to a remote grass landing strip in the city of Pignon. There the team embarks on a two hour open bed truck ride, alongside the mountain, to reach the hospital.
Dr. Ron O’Neal was able to perform dental extractions on patients from a mobile dental clinic, as well as provide oral hygiene instruction and other dental care to local villagers in remote areas without access to property medical care.
Interacting with the villagers and listening to their respective stories has added such perspective in Dr. O’Neal’s own personal life. “These people are not hurried by the day to day keeping up with the Joneses, nor the constant ping or vibration of a cell phone,” recalls Dr. O’Neal. “There is something to be said about being fully present in any given moment.”
Both the medical team and the villagers learn much from each other. “The lessons on medical, dental and nutrition are exchanged for lessons on resilience, family unit and compassion for those in need,” says Dr. O’Neal. “Watching a group of people make due with what they have and continuing to share is beautiful to watch.”
For more information or to get involved through time, talents, fundraising or donations, visit Village Partners International at villagepartnersinternational.org.
Learn more about Dr. Ron O’Neal at The Family Dentist with locations in both Tampa and St. Petersburg at www.tampabayfamilydentist.com.