CANMORE – Upon returning from a two-week humanitarian trip from Ethiopia and Malawi, the Pearson-Moldenhauer family came back with a whole new perspective.
In partnership with Canadian Humanitarian, local dentist Grant Moldenhauer, his partner Lisa Pearson and their children Logan Moldenhauer and Brodie Moldenhauer, took the opportunity to travel halfway across the world to offer some of their services in Ethiopia and Malawi.
“I think it was just an amazing experience for all of us. It was wonderful to experience as a family unit and go over there and see these people, how they live, their culture, amazing people, very, very friendly – but life is very difficult,” said Grant.
Receiving a lot of support and donations from Canmore residents, the Pearson-Moldenhauer family brought it along to with them. With both Grant and Lisa in the medical field, they each offered their healthcare expertise while there.
As a dentist, Grant provided fillings, restorations and surgical extractions for removing cavities in Ethiopia. Though in the more rural areas of Malawi, there was a limited amount of resources.
“We were set up in a small school, a small classroom, the wind would blow through, it was dusty ... we didn’t have any power, there’s no running water. Basically we just had hand tools, though we had to do the best we could with the best we had. We did really well with what we had,” Grant said.
As for Lisa, who is a physiotherapist, at first she was worried that no one would stop by and see her.
“I was worried they never heard of a physio, let alone seen a physiotherapist. I wasn’t sure whether they would come and see me, whether they’d be looking for that care,” Lisa said.
But within 10 minutes of setting up her clinic, Lisa had about 45 people in line.
Along with the more technical aspects of their practice, Grant and Lisa also provided education on preventative measures. Educating on dental care was provided by Grant while Lisa ran exercise groups for lower back pain, which was the most prominent ache afflicting people in the places they visited.
Brodie and Logan also shared their own respective passions with the children in Ethiopia and Malawi. Logan who plays hockey here in Canmore, brought some hockey sticks to teach them the sport while Brodie taught dance.
Since the trip, Brodie has been thinking about pursuing a career in international development.
“I’ve been thinking about doing international development and working overseas with NGOs and that being like my career path or doing nursing and then working overseas and doing that. I really love that aspect of being in developing nations and helping them,” Brodie said.