Nick Saari is hoping he can fix a few smiles while sharing God’s message in a faraway land he’s only read about.
Dr. Saari, a dentist at Soft Dental in Rush City, is about to go on a 17-day mission trip to Cameroon, Africa, where he will provide free dental care. He is looking forward to joining a team of about 20 other health care workers—from doctors and nurses to optometrists and fellow dentists—through Health Teams International.
Health Teams is an Oklahoma-based ecumenical missionary organization that assists in the evangelization of unreached people across the world through the service of short-term Christian health care teams.
“I’m nervous and excited,” said Saari, 30, who lives with his family in Hugo. “This will be my first trip abroad in providing dental care as a health care provider.”
Saari is scheduled to leave the country March 16 and return April 1. In Cameroon, a country in west Central Africa, within an hour’s drive of Nigeria, he will discover why it’s called “Africa in miniature,” named for its cultural and geological diversity with beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests and savannas.
Once in Cameroon, Saari and team will set up seven to eight clinics where the dental team will likely treat around 1,000 patients. Many people there, he has learned, suffer from severe malnutrition, malaria and typhoid.
The team will bring more than 100,000 antibiotics and their own instruments and medical equipment. “Our focus will be extrication, treating bad dental infections,” explained Saari of the dentists on the team.
Soft Dental is proud that one of its own is about to make this kind of difference for people in need.
“We are very excited to have one of our own doctors here at Soft Dental go on this mission trip,” said Shana Munson, treatment coordinator. “Dr. Saari has such a caring and giving nature that he will be able to greatly serve those he meets on this incredible journey to Africa. We cannot wait to hear about all of those he was able to help.”
Soft Dental will be posting updates and photos of Dr. Saari’s mission trip on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SoftDental.