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Dr. Wallace Reaches Out to Help

One lesson I took away from this trip: anyone, no matter their age or skill set, can be used mightily in a place such as Ethiopia. Many of the dentists brought their families and I watched as their kids played baseball with the Ethiopian children, wives sat with patients as they waited for teeth extractions and even a retired attorney fit hundreds of people with eye glasses. Our group simply went with a heart to share God’s love with a needy people. And we received love and blessings tenfold in return. Don’t ever be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and offer yourself to serve whether it be here in Dallas or halfway across the world. You will never regret it.

This was a common question from friends, family and patients alike before I departed on a two-week journey to serve the people in this impoverished, yet beautiful country. It’s an understandable question. At first glance it is puzzling to imagine how a dermatologist who routinely treats acne, skin cancers, and let’s be honest — wrinkles — would have much to offer to a third world country plagued by poverty and disease. But, I hoped if I went with a willing heart to love and serve the people I would find plenty of ways to help. And, I was right.

With two large suitcases filled to the brim with medical supplies and great anticipation, I boarded a plane with 24 others involved with an organization called Ethiopia Smile. The group was started years ago by a dentist in Arlington named Moody Alexander. He and his family have a heart for bringing sustainable changes to Ethiopia and for rallying groups of people to travel there to offer their gifts and talents to Ethiopians.

Most of my time there was spent in make-shift clinics we set up in both the capital city of Addis Ababa as well as a tiny village called Dube Bute. The need there is simply overwhelming. And sadly, most days our time, resources and supplies ran out long before the lines of people who had walked sometimes miles to see us would. I mostly treated skin diseases due to their unsanitary living conditions such as scabies, lice, fungal and bacterial infections and dermatitis. The smallest gift of an antibiotic or a steroid cream made their eyes light up with joy and hope. In that moment they knew they were loved and that they mattered. And isn’t that what we all need and desire?

If you have any interest in learning more about Ethiopia Smile and other organizations we worked with:
www.ethiopiasmile.com
www.embracinghopeethiopia.com 

Thanks for reading!
Dr. Genevieve Wallace

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