Fixing Teeth with Humanity

Most of the time, we walk around glaring at the frustrations we see in our daily lives. Is it really worth our time? There’s not a moment to waste. Prepare to channel that energy to someplace better.

On the surface, the story of a Dr. Zavel Mojica, or more affectionately, Dr. Z , begins like so many others: two friends talk and decide to share a brief holiday in China.

“I originally came to China just for vacation. I was visiting the Great Wall and the terracotta warriors, and my friend, who I came to visit told me, ‘There’s this new clinic and they’re interested to meet you.’ So, I went to talk to them and ended up staying,” he said. That trip was already two years ago.

Hailing from Costa Rica (in Central America), Dr. Z was taught early and often to care about people and the society-at-large—no matter who they were.

20160928_165611“My family has always been willing to help others. For example, my grandfather founded a factory in my country. They would give jobs to people with physical issues to help with assembly. We were one of the few companies in the country to give jobs to these people. The workers told me it made them happy because they feel valuable,” he explained. These humanistic lessons, assuredly to the delight of his family, made a profound impact on his approach to life.

As he was preparing to leave home for university, he again sought the meaningful advice of his family.

“Besides the family members in the factory, most of my family are either dentists or medics. Once, my uncle invited me to watch a natural birth when I was younger. It was a little shocking, so I decided not to exactly go that route,” he mentioned, laughing. “Today, I think I can handle it fine,” he added.

In the end, he opted for dentistry, and began his professional study.

Despite his progressions in school towards a promising future, something was perhaps missing in his life. The urges for charity ultimately became unavoidable and so, he took a break from the classroom to spring out into the world.

“I have two directions for my life. Either I have children and have a normal life or I work—and with my savings—live and give my time in Africa. I want to go back,” he declared.

“I went with my university program to serve as a dentist in a hospital in Guinea-Bissau [in Western Africa]. The whole complex is very big with a hospital, orphanage, school and a small church. They have been rescuing children and give them food. I think what they are doing there is very important,” he told me. After spending just about three and a half months away, it was time to return home to complete his education.

The lessons learned during his time in Africa cemented his aim for a deep compassion that continues to stay with him today. Through contemplation, he has simplified the trajectory of his future:

“I have two directions for my life. Either I have children and have a normal life or I work—and with my savings—and give my time in Africa. I want to go back,” he declared. Though he hasn’t yet been back to Western Africa, he has made efforts to try and provide support to other parts of the world in need like Afghanistan and Uganda.

Looking around his glitzy office, I felt a sense of irony.

20161025_115249 2“I think there’s a misperception for many physicians that you should earn your living as a doctor, but at the same time, you’re here to help people. Sometimes, especially in China, people forget this,” he explained.

As we got deeper, he continued to bare more of his soul. What I discovered was a man who cares deeply about the people of this planet in a significant way.

“We forget that we all live in just one world and we’re all the same: Russians, Americans, North Koreans. All the controversies with the leaders—that’s just politics. The people like us, we don’t want war. If we keep holding the grudges against others, we can never move forward in the world,” he rationalized.

His point is that no matter who you are, or what you have in your past, the power of aid is within us all. As they say, every little bit counts.

“What I decided is that if I cannot completely change the world, but can still relieve the pain of those who suffer, it is good. Because I’ve already been given too much. This is my personal choice. This is a choice that we as a society should embrace,” he uttered solemnly.

Imagine if everyone lived in the same way. It’s the addictive hopelessness that truly confines us, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“There’s hope in humanity, but we need to act on it.”