Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pearly whites

My last semester of college I took a class called "sociology of medicine", which included a brief section on international/comparative approaches to medicine. One thing we learned is that American doctors are socialized to turn to surgery first, seeing the body more as a machine to be fixed, in contrast to many European and Asian doctors, who would first turn to more holistic, gentle approaches.

I had a firsthand experience with this last week in a Bosnian dentist's office. The last time I was at a dentist in the US, they commented that the level of my gum line was low and that I might need a skin graft in the future, and of course the dental hygienist said I had a lot of plaque and needed to floss more, etc.

Tender gums compelled me to reluctantly visit a dentist here in Bosnia. I was apprehensively anticipating being subjected to a Bosnian style skin graft. Instead, the dentist simply said that I didn't have any plaque, that my teeth were perfect and I just needed to swish with a certain kind of tea. There was not a dental hygienist in sight.

And it worked! I swished with the tea for a few days, and low and behold, my gums felt great. Tea is definitely preferable to surgery.

On the other hand, in my travels around the world, I have definitely noticed that Americans have the best teeth in the world, something my sociology class failed to mention. Coincidence? Perhaps not. Bring on the scalpel. And a cup of tea while you're at it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Hero

An American NGO called "My Hero" works to "celebrate the best of humanity" through videos, stories and pictures. They have a Hero website where people are encouraged to share their hero stories with others. Video professionals who work with My Hero have come twice to Mostar to lead video workshops in Abrasevic Youth Cultural Center (where I work), leaving behind cameras and Mac computers so that workshop participants can continue to use their knowledge and produce short videos.

I took part in a workshop they led in April and made a video about the place where I work, over the course of 4 days. The video has been entered in the annual My Hero Film Festival and can be viewed at the link below, along with other videos from the Balkans and around the world.

My video is called: OKC Abrasevic. Also recommended is the video about Valentina Mindoljevic, a teacher in Mostar. Awadi and Breakdancers of Konik City are great videos as well. (Tradition, Diver and the Bridge, and Flying Man were also shot in Mostar, if you want to see more about the city where I live!)