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Reilly English Volunteers Abroad with the Montana Dental Outreach Team

April 19, 2019

Reilly English, molecular biology major at Montana Western, traveled to Ghana, West Africa with the Montana Dental Outreach Team (MDOT) during spring break 2019.

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The MDOT went to a small village inland where they stayed in the company of Sister Stan at Nazareth’s Home for Gods Children, an orphanage. In Ghana, a “spirit child” is born with a physical or mental handicap, as a twin or with a mother who died in childbirth. Sister Stan opened the orphanage nearly 15 years ago to save these children and give them a chance at life. Sister Stan is the sole guardian of over 70 “spirit children.”

Over the course of four days, the MDOT treated all kids in the orphanage, further opening it up to community members in surrounding villages. They cared for roughly 475 people by providing cleanings, filings, extractions and fluoride treatment. Each patient received their own personal toothbrush, which may be the only one they will have in their entire life.

Montana Western’s block scheduling system, known as Experience One, English’s internship and current job prepared him for his unique experience abroad. “I have worked in the dental field all through my undergrad degree, learning about the mouth and teeth, which has guided me into the career that I want to pursue,” said English.

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English felt very humbled after his visit, as he was able to see how differently many people around the world live. He learned that to pursue his career in dental work, he must have compassion and dedication to serving others.

“The thing I enjoyed most about this trip was being able to help others and seeing the joy that we could bring to them. If I had one thing to bring back to UMW, it is the drive to continue to succeed to be able to go back and help these people again. Never give up, your life could be a lot harder,” said English after reflecting on his experience.

English will be graduating in spring 2019 and afterwards, he plans on attending dental school.

To learn more about Montana Western’s block scheduling system, please visit the Experience One webpage.