Self-Discovery and Giving Back to Community: Insights from Edsel
A seemingly random moment can teach us a lot, especially if we are open to finding meaning and ways to serve our communities better.
This rings true for Dr. Edsel Bodden, a dentist, and MCW Global's Fellowship 2020 Mentee.
A casual visit to a dentist's office sparked his interest in dentistry and set him on his path toward helping others.
Originally from Honduras, now living in France, Edsel was involved in programs such as MCW Global. From experience, he acknowledges the youth's role in society, especially when they are encouraged and possess the tools.
He sat to speak with us more thoroughly about his journey, sharing his steps, the inspiration behind his work, and some valuable insights he has gained along this path.
Let's dig deeper into his self-discovery journey, shortcomings, and rewards. Here, we will see how giving back to the community is pivotal in this young activist's eyes.
Can you share some challenges you faced growing up in Honduras and how they influenced your journey?
Growing up in the neighborhood where my family lived was a challenge because there was no good education. On the other side, a lot of violence and discrimination prevailed.
Coming from a lower-class household, I experienced a different treatment from my classmates because I did not have the same status they did, and I did not have the same resources as them; I do not think I was a target, but I let myself feel that way because in some way I thought that I didn't fit in.
It felt weird because I couldn't fit in with the kids in my neighborhood either. For them, I was the kid who had the opportunity to study in a fancy school.
Importantly, I am grateful because my parents made an effort for me to have a good education and be able to go to university.
These obstacles helped me to be grateful and relentless.
What inspired you to pursue a career in dentistry, and how have you been able to use your skills to improve oral health in your community?
The inspiration was from a visit to a Dental Health Fair with my mom and sister. It caught my attention; I decided to research what dentists did and what I could do to help people.
It was my best career path, and I would dedicate my life to improving other people's lives and providing a service to my community that needs oral health education.
I have served my country by providing free oral health care to remote communities and educating them.
We see you took action along this journey; what have you found to be most helpful in taking action throughout your life?
A few years ago, I realized I would do it for myself if I did not stand up for myself and take action to achieve what I wanted.
All my dreams had to become goals for them to come true.
I was always a person who put others first just for the sake of being accepted. Still, eventually, I realized that I had the potential to achieve things without others' approval. I became stronger and accomplished many things I didn't even know I could.
At this point, I put all my doubts and fears aside and got to apply to MCW's Young Leaders Fellowship Program, and I was selected.
This experience taught me that I can do anything by believing in myself.
Moving from Honduras to France is a significant journey. Can you describe the steps you took to make that transition and how you have been able to continue your work in dentistry and leadership in a new cultural context?
It was a tough decision because I worked hard in my country. Still, deep inside, I have always known that I wanted to experiment with living abroad.
I had to start learning French a year prior. Then, I had to find a school where I could continue learning French and integrate into French society. I am working remotely with the administration of my dental office in Honduras. Also, now I have started the process to validate my degree here and be able to enter the master's and continue working here as a dentist.
Can you speak about the importance of youth leadership development in Honduras and other developing countries and how programs like the Young Leaders Fellowship are making a difference?
Much talent is wasted because we need an education system that cares for the youth and its development. That is a reason why a lot of young talented leaders leave the country to seek opportunities in other places. Still, programs like the Fellowship have opened a door of hope for those who cannot leave and want to help our country develop.
These programs give us the tools we need to work for our communities. I have always been a leader that needed to shape myself to help others and serve my community with my talent and knowledge.
MCW Global has given me the confidence to trust myself.
Looking to the future, what are some of your goals and aspirations for continuing to create positive change in your community and beyond?
I want to encourage others to pursue their dreams no matter how young or old you think you are; you must learn to live your present and act because no one else will live their life for you, and time does not stop for anyone.
Put yourselves out there in the world, and you will find many things worth fighting for in your life and achieving your goals.
I would love to have the opportunity to engage in my hometown in creating a network of support for all the new and practicing dentists to develop a system where oral health education is our priority and be the first city in our country to innovate in that matter to be an example. I would also love to work with our authorities in helping them improve public services. Hence, everyone has access to essential oral health treatments without having to pay too much money and help them improve our people's lifestyles.
My short-term goals are to become fluent in French and learn another language to travel and work in different places. I want to validate my degree here in France. With business, I want to expand it and provide job opportunities in my hometown.
As a long-term goal, I am planning on becoming a public health master to be able to work with the development of oral health and health in general in different communities in need, especially in Honduras.
In our last piece, we talked to Marko Paloski. Read how he merged his tech skills with the nuances that MCW Global gave his journey and brought a change in his community in North Macedonia.