Don’t Wait for the Stars to Align

by Richard Eidal, photos by Global Dental Relief
First published June 6, 2024 by Global Dental Relief.

Children in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I’ve known of Global Dental Relief for many, many years and have spoken with them at various dental conferences I’ve attended over those years. We all know how life can get in the way of our best intentions and time passed. Finally, the stars aligned and I volunteered with GDR in Nepal. Had I known years ago what I know now I would have rearranged the heavens to have done this sooner.

Every person in GDR has been friendly, helpful, caring and informative. Our itinerary was well thought-out. From the moment we arrived in Kathmandu until the day we departed, we were well taken care of and never (unless by our own choice) left to fend for ourselves as strangers in a strange land.

Nepal is a wonderful, chaotic and fascinating country. Each dentist had a dental unit, an assistant and plenty of patients. This is nuts and bolts dentistry, nothing fancy – save and fill all the teeth you can, extract only when there is no other option, do some hygiene and give home care instructions. This makes an enormous change in these kids’ lives – kids who would otherwise suffer from their lack of dental care. These students were excellent to work with and appreciative to a fault. They learn English so communication was rarely an issue. My assistant was a local student and she was able to easily resolve any language complications.

On clinic days we worked about three hours in both the mornings and afternoons with an hour for lunch. Clinic work is non-stop; when one patient is finished the next one is right there ready to be seated, so we were busy, but we were able to take a couple of five-minute breaks when needed. We ate lunch as a group in a nearby, excellent local café.

The clinic was a great experience, and my only regret is that I wish we could have seen more patients and done more; the need is great. We go into the dental profession in order to help others, and our ability to change lives is greatest in areas that lack dental care. Satisfaction in improving the health of the less fortunate is its own and great reward.

Anyone who travels knows that there are often unforeseen circumstances that force itinerary change, and Nepal was no exception. Weather and bureaucratic issues were our monkey wrenche,s and GDR came through with flying colors. Our trekking plan needed to change – we decided, as a group, what to do, and GDR was on it in a flash and made it work. We had a great Himalayan trek with guides and porters, met many new folks along the way, and cemented some long-distance friendships.

Enthusiastic volunteers at the Global Dental Relief clinic in Kathmandu.

To sum up – lest there be any confusion, let me state that GDR is an excellent organization with a clear mission, and the Nepal clinic an experience that is a highlight of my career. I have great memories and stories to last a lifetime, and although the end of my dental career is in sight, I plan to do more of these clinics. I have total faith in the mission of Global Dental Relief and in their ability to fulfill it. Don’t wait for your stars to align; rearrange the heavens.

To sign up for a volunteer clinic abroad, email Global Dental Relief at or call 303-858-8857. View our 2024-2025 Printable Schedule and join us in one of 7 locations around the globe!

GDR Volunteer group – hailing from all over the US and Canada!

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About Angels in Medicine

Angels in Medicine is a volunteer site dedicated to the humanitarians, heroes, angels, and bodhisattvas of medicine. The site features physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare workers and volunteers who reach people without the resources or opportunities for quality care, such as teens, the poor, the incarcerated, the elderly, or those living in poor or war-torn regions. Read their stories at

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