Led by Dr. Curt Phifer, their faculty advisor and volunteer educational missionary to Belize, 19 members of the NSU chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the national pre-medical honor society, spent May 8-17 serving in the southern part of Belize. This was the second mission trip that AED has made to Belize, partnering with a dentist and dental hygienists from the School of dentistry at the University of Mississippi.
The team, made up of pre-MD, pre-dent, nursing, and other medical profession students, applied fluoride varnishes to teeth, gave dental hygiene lessons, and shared songs and a brief Bible lesson to almost 3000 Mayan children in southern Belize, the poorest part of the country. Following the work part of the trip, the group spent a couple of days touring a Mayan temple site and at San Pedro where they relaxed and enjoyed the beach and snorkeling with sharks, sting rays, and other sea life on Belize’s barrier, coral reef.
A few quotes from students on the team illustrate the educational and personal impact of the trip.
“Traveling to Belize for my first step on foreign soil really opened my eyes to different lifestyles that people lead. Seeing children barefoot in a classroom really showed me that their culture is vastly different from the American culture that requires children not only to wear shoes to school, but sometimes a specific shoe style.” Mary Peltier, Louisiana Scholars’ College
“The medical mission trip to Belize will be one that I will always remember. I enjoyed seeing those kids truly grateful for the little things that many of us take for granted every day.” Nia Walker, Department of Biological and Physical Sciences.
The AED group wishes to express it appreciation to the NSU Student Government Association for funding grants that helped on airfares and fluoride treatments.