My apologies for the slowness of my first post
After some hours airplane and bus trip I finally arrived early in the morning to Kirikkale. I stood in front of my apartment and had a moment of enjoyment. I couldn’t wait to start my thesis with warm summer days. The weather was amazing. Even though I haven’t had any sleep in 24 hours I was too excited to go to sleep. I met up with a friend for breakfast and thereafter I met my supervisor Prof Turksel Dulgergil and his family for the first time. They welcomed me and embraced me sincerely like I was a family member. I felt a warm feeling deep within and moments of exquisite happiness. We spent lovely time together and they showed me around in Kirikkale.
6- 12 July
Days went by and I became busy every day. Busy, organizing my life here in Kirikkale and making preparations for my thesis together with my supervisor Prof. Turksel. The invitations of mother-child pairs, the questionnaire and the materials that is needed for the field study were prepared and completed.
We took the holy month Ramazan and Bayram into consideration when invitations of mother-child pairs were made. We divided and called the mother-child pairs in different days to the Family Physician Health Center. When meeting the mother-child pairs the questionnaire was fulfilled by two dental assistants through direct interview with the mothers and the oral examination were made on mother-child pairs by me. The mothers and their children were screened for the bacteria level by salivary strip test. Information and instruction about oral health together were given to each mother-child pair. At the end of each examination we applied fluoride varnish to each child and we gave a dental hygiene kit to the mothers and their children. The oral hygiene kits for my field study were sponsored by Colgate and TePe companies (Swedish manufacturer of preventive oral hygiene products). We also offered the mothers that needed restorations a treatment if they wished.
After having spent a long time at the clinic and in the Family Physician Health Center to collect data, I needed time out to recharge so I stepped out of the clinic with my supervisor and jogged across the forest and the amazing mountains of Kirikkale. Things in Kirikkale could not be more beautiful than they are.
Kirikkale as city and the cooperation with my supervisor has exceeded every expectation possible and opened my eyes to new opportunities. Beyond the preparation and collection of data for my thesis, I participated with my supervisor and other dental- and nurse students in another kind field study for children between 2-15 years old. The field study was done in rural areas of “Yozgat” city with mobile dental unite and examination, restorative, extractions, fluoridation etc. were involved. My supervisor is the member of scientific board of national oral health prevention programme (one of three academicians on this board) who arranged these kind of programmes in different parts of Turkey.
This gave me a stunning visual insight and I had hard to imagine something like this happening back home. The children lived in hard conditions and had much worse health. Even if, by chance, this kind of patients appeared back home, I hardly imagine meeting this kind of patients back home with the regularity that I see them here. This brought tears to my eyes, tears of both sadness and happiness, sad seeing them live like this and happy for the opportunity that my supervisor gave me to be here, to help and to make a difference.
I can’t describe how lucky I feel every day to be here in Kirikkale, learning from my well experienced supervisor, learning the differences about oral health, general dentistry, learning the importance of the culture, local livelihoods and environment etc.
Although I miss my family and friends back home, I wouldn’t trade a day of my time here for anything and I am sure you would say the same if you would be in my shoes living these days.
Those days I have spent here so far made me truly realize the phenomenon of taking things for granted. We are too busy in life and we constantly preoccupy ourselves with thoughts of things we don’t have. We should be very thankful and value people and things in our lives. The things we take for granted are dreams for many people here.