By Tarin McMorrow,
Nineteen-year-old Davis High senior Alana McGowan’s future was inspired by a unique opportunity: a trip to the island country of Haiti.
McGowan has grown up in a family of eight children–soon to be nine with another baby on the way. “Most of them are cousins really, but I consider them siblings because I live with them,” McGowan explained.
McGowan is currently the oldest child living at home; for someone used to being surrounded by family members, traveling without them to Haiti was a new experience. However, McGowan was traveling with a family friend, Dr. Tina Wiley, so her household was never far from her mind.
Wiley planned a mission trip to provide dental care to Haiti’s impoverished people, and invited McGowan along for her 18th birthday.
“She asked me if I wanted to go so I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds fun,’ ” McGowan said. “I’d never been to a different country before.”
The two spent 10 unforgettable days in Haiti assisting the country’s population. McGowan watched all treatments carefully, and learned about the equipment and procedure for all kinds of dental work. She was so moved by her trip that she is now considering the dental field as a possible career path.
“I’m thinking about either doing dental or nursing,” McGowan explained. “Dental because I was inspired by the Haiti trip and nursing because my parents are nurses.”
“I’m excited [to graduate] now since I have a better understanding of what I want to do because of Haiti,” she added.
McGowan hoped to visit Haiti again this coming March, but her trip was delayed because it is election season in Haiti–a dangerous time to visit the country due to political instability, McGowan said.