Danville dentist on a mission to help orphans in Africa

'When you see the smiles on their faces, you get back more than you give'

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.


Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2012 at 6:46 am

While I think it is commendable he and his group travel to Africa to provide dental care, there are thousands right here in the US, not to mention thousands of homeless veterans that could use the care and help. I always wondered the motivation of people who do this. Not a criticism, just a comment and observation.

Like this comment
Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2012 at 8:56 am


William, there are also thousands (and Thousands) of other dentists hereabouts who wouldn't have to drag their butts all the way to flippin' Africa to assist those you deem somehow more worthy of this Good man's attentions. Way to screw-up an otherwise wonderful, feel-good story!

You damn with faint praise: "it is 'commendable'," and say your ridiculous post is just an "observation," but that's a crock.

SO, unconditional kudos to Doc Nadler and Dr. John Roberts, MD, who's also going. Remarkably, the article did not give his office address for donations, so I will:

Dr. Nadler Dentistry
185 Front St. Ste 105
Danville, CA 94526

THANKS, DOCS! -- and William: the next time you feel the need to make an observation, please remember the Thumper Rule (and go thump yourself, upside the head).

Like this comment
Posted by JJ
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

Citizen Paine, is there a bit of chip on the shoulder? William was not denigrating the docs. Lighten up.

I find it interesting that they are asking for $10,000, for a "working vacation"?! Most of us have enough trouble paying for our own vacations. I have done humanitarian work in several nations and have never asked anyone to help "subsidize" my travels.

Like this comment
Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:57 am

Yeah, JJ, you bet I've gotta big ol' chip for folks who feel like they have license to editorialize on the good works of others. Unless William can demonstrate that HE provides all that assistance he wants to tell other people to do, he really ought to just STveryFU.

Thing is, if he Does provide such help, it's very likely he would never be inclined to criticize another person's choice of Cause. Because he'd know better.

And JJ, do you know what the $10K will be used for? I don't know either, but if I have to choose who gets the benefit of the doubt between you and them, it's Advantage Docs, by a wide margin.

Like this comment
Posted by bz
a resident of Blackhawk
on Sep 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Wow! Pretty sad when someone doing such an unselfish, and lifechanging thing is criticized!

I want to go on record to THANK these two men for their incredible gift to these very needy people!!

Like this comment
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I'm not usually a bandwagon jumper, but geez - compassion doesn't have borders for many who want to give to others. Let's celebrate that spirit! I have contributed to campaigns of others who had the opportunity to travel abroad to volunteer in various capacities, and the talent to assist (@ jj these were not, by ANY stretch of the imagination, "working vacations"!). I'm happy to do it - I don't have the desire to travel abroad and I tend to volunteer here at home. I respect those who do spread their volunteer talents abroad, however!

Kudos to these great dentists!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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