Bridget Tippett, a hygienist with Leiken & Baylin Dental Care on Frederick Road, and her daughters, Sophie, and Ruby, spent 10 days in Kingston, Jamaica, cleaningteeth, providing fluoride treatments and caring for those who need it in that impoverished Caribbean country.
The 10-day trip in late July and early August was through the auspices of the national Christian Dental Society and it definitely made an impact on each of them.
"I am used to being pampered and it was hard to see the living conditions of the residents. I feel grateful for everything in my life," said Sophie, a freshman at Catonsville High.
They worked long days in a church converted into a makeshift clinic, where they were joined several other groups to provide medical care to hundreds of residents.
The clinic provided several stations — an internist, a pharmacist, an optician, a gynecologist and the dentists.
Each day, they woke at 6 a.m. and worked until 7:30 p.m.
"It was so hot, we were sweating through our clothes," said Bridget, who cleaned the teeth of almost 25 patients each day.
"It was both wonderful and awful," she said. "People arrived at 4 a.m., traveled for miles and sometimes the line was so long they could not be seen.
"I felt bad for even taking a short break to eat, there was such a need for help."
Ruby liked assisting her mom in the clinic, even though the working conditions were challenging,
"The lighting was poor, so I held the flashlight while my mom worked," said Ruby, a junior at Catonsville High interested in child development who also spent a few days working at the vacation Bible school set up for the kids.
Her sister not only helped with the dental clinic, but with the others as well and made lots of friends among the patients and kids from the mission's organization.
The days were long and sometimes difficult.
"I broke down once, but there were supportive volunteers in our group that helped me," Sophie said. "I would do it again, no question."
They stayed in a local apartment unit they shared with a local lizard.
Bridget returned to her Catonsville home, where husband Rob and her 11-yer-old son, Sam, were waiting, exhausted, but thankful for the experience.
"We're all so proud of Bridget on a day to day basis, but this reinforces why Bridget is such a special person. She sacrificed her summer vacation to help people with a desperate need for care," said Dr. Scott Baylin.
Thanks, Tippett ladies, for being wonderful ambassadors and representing Catonsville so well.
Clearing the trail
The No. 8 Streetcar Path took a beating from Hurricane Irene. Three large trees fell across the path and hundreds of limbs fell to the ground.