A Danville dentist is headed for Africa to literally bring smiles to people in Uganda.
Dr. Mark Nadler is headed to his seventh mission trip and his second trip to an orphanage known as Otino-Waa Children's Village, which is in Lira, Uganda.
Otino-Waa means "our children" in the Lua language spoken there. Uganda has been ravaged by HIV-AIDS, leaving many children with neither father nor mther.
Nadler is looking to raise $10,000 for the trip, what he described as "kind of a working vacation.
"We will be doing mostly maintenance," he said, explaining than much dental work was done on his first trip to Uganda in 2010.
Nadler's team treated the basic needs of more than 230 children, but realized more was needed: for incoming children, for teachers, the administration team and for the house mother. That led to a dream, to build a dental and medical clinic.
"We have delivered between $18,000 and $19,000 of dental materials to the orphanage," Nadler said.
And in April of this year, with the help of donations from friends, family, dental representatives and local business, ground was broken on a 1,300-square-foot building.
Among the donations was a machine that can make up to 1,000 bricks a day -- almost exactly what a team of masons can use daily, Nadler said.
Nadler's no neophyte to mission trips. His other trips were to South America, including Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.
"I've been with anything from 10- to 25-member medical dental teams to provide care for indigent populations," Nadler said.
He visited Nicaragua twice, but he remembered his visit to Venezuela where, he said "things were a little sketchy."
Nadler and his team were, he said, on "the ragged edge of the barrio," where "people had just started converting from cardboard to wood" for their homes.
In the past, mission trips to South America generally took a week to 10 days. With two days travel time each way, Nadler said trips to Uganda are "closer to two-week trips."
Nadler's children are grown, so his wife, Debbie, is accompanying him on his return to Otina-Waa.
He said Uganda can be dangerous, too.
"Fortunately, they don't let us go anywhere alone. Hotels have guards -- they have a guard with an AKJ-47," Nadler said.
So why does he make the trips?
"You get to know that you're doing something for people that they can never do for themselves. To them, we're rich," he said. "It's hard to believe that you're giving away all of your time, but when you see the smiles on their faces, you get back more than you give."
Nadler held a fundraiser on Aug. 22 at That Bar in Danville. He's still accepting donations for the upcoming trip.
The Nadlers will be traveling with a smaller team than usual -- just six people.
'We always need more support people than medical people," he said, but added that a doctor from Blackhawk, John Roberts, will be on the team.
People who's like to donate can stop by his office to make out a check, or they can contribute directly to Path Ministries the church that began the outreach to Otino-Waa , and sister church to Nadler's home church, East Bay Fellowship.