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Attachment Programme / Self-initiated Programme / CAS Week

12 - 20 Nov 2016

A Week at the Orthodontist’s

5D Yeung Cheuk Wa

I was handed a uniform: a pink dress plus a cardigan. I put them on, tied my hair up into a ponytail, stood next to the other nurses, and camouflaged as part of the crew.

With my adrenaline running high, what I could only hear was my blood rushing in my ears like a roaring river. The strong, quick pulse pressed against the skin of my neck. Yet my eyes, peeking from behind the mask, still managed the “professional”, ice-cold stare.

I stood beside the orthodontist as his “assistant”, an untrained one, albeit. Part of my job was to pass him forceps with elastics clipped on one after another consistently. To my delight, it started off quite smoothly, which also surprised the orthodontist. As I calmed down and concentrated hard, I picked up the pace. All of a sudden, the crispy sound of steel falling onto the floor pierced my ears. And then all I could hear was the buzzing of the air-con. I looked down, and found a pair of forceps lying on the floor.

“You should only release the forceps when you see me grab hold of them,” said the orthodontist, “don’t just focus on yourself.” Heat flooded my cheeks as my blood surged again, but this time it was because of shame and guilt. Had I been so self-centred?

The orthodontist and the nurses didn’t teach me the names and functions of all the clinical instruments. Partly because the tight appointment schedule of the clinic didn’t allow them to, and that perhaps they didn’t think it was necessary for me to know.

Yet I observed closely and made mental notes about every detail. Very quickly, I could already catch up with the general procedures and help with the preparation and disinfection procedures. Moreover, I managed to self-learn most of the names of the instruments just by observation and listening to their conversations.

To further enrich my experience, I asked for some handson, such as making alginate (a jelly-like blue material made from seaweed), plaster teeth moulds and study models. One of the fun yet challenging things was to separate the hardened plaster teeth models from the dried alginate mould using a knife. The plaster was very delicate and fragile – one forceful movement with the tip of the knife would chop off a tooth from the model. It took me a lot of patience, and I felt like I was shucking an oyster.

There was no classroom, no wordy PowerPoints, no one standing there to do all the talking. But sometimes we could be our own teachers. Proactive learning can yield unexpected rewarding outcome.

 

World Volunteer in Laos

5C Ngan Michael

Jumping into a pit full of wet mud, and hiking through magnificent mountain ranges and living in a Hmong village are just a few of the many awesome things the seven of us did in Laos.

We joined World Volunteer on a trip to work on the Eco-Bungalow Project. It was to help build a hostel for tourists who come for a mountaineering tour or simply stay in the village with the locals, thereby generating income for the villagers. While we helped them with brick-making and cement-mixing, we felt strongly the warm hospitality and rich cultural atmosphere of the local community. 

Apart from building the bungalow, we also had fun with the local children, listened to the history and rituals of Laos while we huddled around the bonfire under the full moon. We also visited the shaman – a doctor who heals sickness caused by spirits. The elders of the village bid us farewell in a traditional basi ceremony.

Leaving technology behind and experiencing the calm and simple lifestyle was one thing I would never forget. Having a swim in the ice-cold pool under the waterfall and hiking up to have a view of the gorgeous Mekong River were also unforgettable moments of the trip. This is the best SAW I ever had.


5G Lai Ching Hei Jeff

The Laos Service Trip is aimed at getting students out of the classroom to learn and interact in a different environment and with different people. Facing major social, political and financial challenges, Laos is one of the less developed countries in the world. Their living standards are comparatively lower than that in Hong Kong. The country is also characterised by its diversity of ethnic minorities, I have certainly broadened my horizons, learning more about their different beliefs and customs, and their village lives. I am glad that I was able to help the community through building an eco-bungalow, which made it a very meaningful trip.