Underprivileged families in Nepal will receive help from Happy Tooth nurses as part of Project Yeti

SMILE: Happy Tooth nurses Nikki Bray, Samantha Seagrave and Caitlin Matthews are part of Project Yeti.
SMILE: Happy Tooth nurses Nikki Bray, Samantha Seagrave and Caitlin Matthews are part of Project Yeti.

FOUR Happy Tooth nurses from Muswellbrook will travel to the Kopan Monastery in Nepal in 2019 to help deprived locals including orphans, nuns and monks. 

This is the third year they have volunteered for the mission, which is aptly named Project Yeti, as the clinic is set in the mountains overlooking Kathmandu Valley.

It will be a unique experience for dental assistant Nikki Bray, who is new to the operation but looking forward to the opportunity.

Ms Bray said colleagues who had been in previous years convinced her to take the trip.

And, she hopes she can make a positive difference, too.

“The girls coming back have said how much they enjoyed it and how satisfying it was, as an experience, to be able to help people,” she said.

Ms Bray said she’d also like to learn some things on the six-day trip, as well as gain an understanding of other beliefs.

“I’m hoping to gain a broader perspective of what it’s like in different parts of the world and how lucky we are here in Australia to have the facilities,” she explained.

Although she did admit to being a bit nervous, noting that she might receive a culture shock upon arrival in a place dictated by Buddhist values and traditions.

While Ms Bray was concerned about being spiritually sensitive and communicating with the local, disadvantaged community, there was something else she was anxious about.

“I’ve heard some of the stories before, especially about the diet in the monastery,” she joked.

“They’re vegetarian and it’ll be interesting to see our daily diet of what we have to eat there.”

Practice coordinator Caitlin Matthews will be there for support though, as she looks to return after an insightful visit last year.

She said while it posed some challenges, the feeling of fulfillment once it had finished made all the hard work worth it.

“It was quite confronting,” Ms Matthews admitted.

“But, just knowing that we’re able to help the kids, giving them the opportunity that they usually never get.

“It was really rewarding, that’s for sure.”

Happy Tooth will raise funds through a raffle, with the winner in previous years receiving prizes like teeth-whitening kits worth more than $500.