Dentist Angela Bauer Williams, left, works on a patient in Jamaica in Feb. 2015 on a mission trip. Williams noted that during this trip, her Cambridge, WI team was able to treat 340 patients, extracting 538 teeth. Mondovi Native Angela Bauer Williams and her dental team  made up of a unique variety of people that traveled to Jamaica Feb. 14-21, 2015 to do mission work providing free dental care to those in need. A Jamaican patient gives a thumbs up while receiving dental work.  The dental work provided was free of charge for those patients living in poverty. The building pictured here is the St. John Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Hopewell, where the dental team from Cambridge, WI set up shop. Angela Bauer Williams and her traveling dental team left hand-prints behind on a wall located in the church where the dental services took place. “We did handprints on a different wall the last time I was there,” Williams added.

Dentist provides free dental care to Jamaicans on recent mission trip

Mondovi Native shares story with hopes to inspire others

by Dana Serum

When one hears about Jamaica, they might think about the beaches and beautiful vacation destinations, the green, yellow and black flag, their delicious rum or even the popular island music. But for one Mondovi Native, Jamaica to her is a place in need of help. Filled with poverty just outside of the resort region, are many Jamaicans in need of dental care.
Dentist Angela Bauer Williams, daughter to Ron and Rosie Bauer of Mondovi, had been wanting to do mission work for some time, especially after her senior year of dental school.
“I always said ‘some day’ because there always seemed to be a barrier to going whether it was finances, time, or fear,” Williams said.
Four years ago, Williams was asked to go on a Jamaican dental mission trip that was organized by a dental school classmate.
“At the time my son was only six months old, so I decided to delay it for a year,” Williams said. “The next year I went because there is a desperate need for dental care and I had the skills to help and I could not ignore that any longer. My kids were young but there was never going to be a perfect time to go, so I decided to make the leap. I am really glad I did.”

The first trip to Jamaica
Williams said her first trip to Jamaica in March 2013 was a bit of a culture shock at first, stating the slang and jargon used by locals made it difficult to understand most.
“The first time I knew two of the dentists, but I did not know anyone else or anything about the region to which we were going,” Williams said.
Another surprise to Williams was that of housing conditions of the area.
“I was shocked by the state of the homes, merely cement shacks that would likely be condemned by our standards,” Williams mentioned. “The roads were badly deteriorated with massive potholes. It took us three hours to travel about 50 miles.”
Williams said one of the things she enjoyed during her trip was the local delicacies.
“The food was good, primarily chicken or fish. We were able to try many different kinds of fruit that I had never heard of before,” Williams said.

Returning to Jamaica 2015
For Williams’ return trip to Jamaica on Feb. 14-21, 2015, she decided that bringing her husband Justin along to join her would not only be spiritually significant, but also because Justin is a Biomedical Engineer with construction experience, which would prove to be beneficial in working on the clinic and equipment that was in need of repair and care.
Williams shared that this year’s trip was very different, as the first one consisted of individuals with dental office experience including dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants. But this year’s trip had five dentists and only one dental assistant. The rest of the team consisted of an engineer, a nurse, a retired HR director, a sheep farmer and three kids aged six, 10 and 11.
“Everyone, including the kids, put their hearts and souls into the work, never complaining about the heat or conditions and never said that they couldn’t or wouldn’t do what ever was needed,” Williams shared. “It really demonstrated that anyone can go on a mission trip as long as you have the willingness to help those in need, get out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new experiences. I know everyone learned new things about themselves, doing things they never thought they could.”
Williams said on this most recent trip, the team focused only on extracting teeth that were badly decayed, infected, painful and broken. They were able to serve 340 patients, extracting 538 teeth.
“Some patients had teeth that had been causing them pain for months but they had no place to turn for help,” Williams said.

A little history
Williams grew up in Mondovi and attended Sacred Heart Catholic School, then Mondovi Middle and High Schools. After graduating from Mondovi High School in 1993, she attended Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, then continued on at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
After schooling, Williams worked as a general dentist in Chippewa Falls, then Waunakee, WI. Williams said at this point, she met her husband, Justin, soon after moving to the Madison area.
“We decided that we wanted to buy our own dental practice [Cambridge Family Dental] so we purchased one in Cambridge, WI in 2006, the same year we were married,” Williams noted. “We moved to Cambridge a year later and we are now raising two children in Cambridge.”

The next step
Williams has plans to return to Jamaica again, stating both her and husband Justin agree they feel they received more than what they gave to their patients.
“The experience is definitely one of growth on many different levels,” said Williams. “The people we served definitely taught me that more patience and appreciation are needed in my life because it is so easy to take things for granted and feel pressure to rush from one activity to another. I was flooded with emotion so many times because the people really touched me.”
Although the next trip dates haven’t been set in stone, the couple is hopeful to return in two years, and will be looking forward to it until then.
“We feel truly blessed by this experience and look forward to doing it again,” Williams added. “When our children are a bit older, we will also take them on future mission trips.”


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