When a Mission dentist and a group of Mission Rotary volunteers head off to Ndola, Zambia at the end of February, they will be setting up a permanent dental clinic for HIV infected orphans at Grace Academy and for nearby residents.
It is a long way from Dr. Bill Tyler’s first trip to a third world country in the early 1990s when he and his wife, Dr. Gloria Tyler, performed dentistry from roughly constructed chairs, using one power drill and only the most rudimentary equipment. Since then, with the help of Mission Sunrise Rotary Club, Tyler and Dr. Stan Soon have taken their mobile dentistry to Zambia, Thailand and Ecuador. This move to setting up a permanent clinic is one Tyler believes will make it more enticing for additional dentists to provide this volunteer service.
Tyler’s relationship with Third World dentistry began with sending toothbrushes to Nicaragua with a patient who spent half of his time building homes in that country and the other half raising money for his volunteer work. Eventually the Tylers went along to Nicaragua, working with primitive equipment and power sources.
After one such trip, Tyler was asked to speak to the Mission Sunrise Rotary Club. The members were moved and asked how they could help. This partnership provided the Tylers funding for the trips and helped them gain financial and volunteer support. Tyler became a Rotarian, and since then, the dental trip has been the club’s major international project with the two Mission dentists providing the leadership and training of the volunteers to assist.
When asked why Tyler supports this project year after year, he simply said, “Because I can, and because I should.”
The club has donated funds and received matching grants from District 5050 Rotary and the International Rotary Foundation. Rotary volunteers pay their own costs and use vacation time to help the 100 orphans living at Grace Academy, along with children from the surrounding area.
In order to maximize the matching grants available, the Rotary Club needs to raise an additional $2,000.
The community can help make this project a reality by supporting the “Into Africa” spaghetti dinner on Feb. 19 at All Saints Anglican Church. Tickets are $25 and available at Murdoch’s Book Shoppe and from Rotarians.
For more information call 604-302-2005.