A Life-Changing Gift

The following was originally posted on Grand Circle Travel’s website.

By Bethany H., first-time traveler from Roseville, MN

Bethany noticed that Emanuel wouldn’t smile with his teeth showing when they first met.

In January 2017, while on an Overseas Adventure Travel trip, I met Emanuel, who was working in a gift shop at the Ngorongoro Farm Valley Lodge in Karatu, Tanzania. I only needed to buy a postcard stamp, but we ended up talking for 45 minutes. I could see there was something special about him. He told me about how he was almost done with training to become a safari guide, but he put that on hold when he came upon this job at the gift shop that allows him to send money home to help pay for his younger brother’s education. Emanuel was so friendly and engaging, but he covered his mouth when talking and he would not smile with his teeth showing. There were yellowish areas on his teeth, and I could tell he was self-conscious about how they looked. I later discovered that, like many Tanzanian people, his teeth were affected by fluorosis at a young age, causing the pitting and yellowing; at age 25, he had never been to a dentist. I decided I had to help him get the smile he deserved. I had faced issues with my own teeth growing up, so I knew how he felt.

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