Friday, November 20, 2009

Short term dental team

This past few weeks we had the pleasure of hosting a short term team from South Edmonton Chinese Alliance (SEAC). At least I think that is their proper name…

We had 5 of them come for two whole week and they brought us a ministry of dental clinics! Tooth pain, rotted teeth and other dental issues plague many of our friends, especially in the village. And a trip to the dentist is completely out of their reach when the only dentists are in the capital city and very expensive. Those who have teeth problems can suffer for years with pain, sensitive teeth, even painful infected abscesses, until the pain reaches the point where they have to go to the hospital. What a tremendous gift this team was able to deliver by offering free dental care (mostly just extractions and minor surgeries) in their own village setting. We worked closely with the local health agent and we estimate we saw approximately 150 in the village of Tagentassou. What a huge difference in quality of life for those 150 people. The team also went to the village of Makalondi as well.

Thank you so much to Damien, Shane, Jon, Alicia and Sheldon for coming all this way to work side by side with us!!

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Our two dentists : Sheldon (l) and Jon (r)

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Fear was the main reason that people would not come, or were very hesitant to. Many of them had never seen a dentist before or even heard of them. When word got out that the dentists were there the brave ones slowly trickled in, and once word got out that it wasn’t a horrible, painful experience, more and more came. We are so thankful that we were able to use this team to “open the door” in this village. We know that next time we return with another medically related team even more people will come as they have heard good reports of our work and they begin to trust.

Rebecca and Damien sterilizing and putting together trays of equipment.

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Shane making a new frienddentalclinic06

When Mom’s were in the dentist chair, I became not only one of the main translators, but also chief baby holder :) I am pleased to report I made it the whole time without being peed on!

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A night shot of the men’s sleeping area (us women were in the small tent you see in the background. What a beautiful site to watch the stars and moon cross the sky from inside our mosquito nets!

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One of the best perks of working out in Tuareg villages- the tea! Rebecca and I both love this Arabic tea and enjoyed it multiple times each day when they brought it in. It is strong and sweet and sooo yummy!

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And who could forget the children. As always, we were the wandering sideshow for all the children, who loved to hang around the clinic. All of our team spent some time playing with the kids and having a blast getting to know them.

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Peter had all the kids roaring with laughter as he chased them around the yard pretending to be different animals.

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Some of the kids were also patients! Here they are holding up their numbers and waiting their turns to come in to see the dentist. Such brave kids!

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The ever popular latex glove hand balloon!

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One of our favourite sweet little boys. He was the only son of the health agent for the village and his mom is one of the teachers at the school where we have our feeding program. This boy is named Michael. They said they named him after Michael Jackson, and we all took to calling him MJ!

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Still to come- a blog about our trip to the sand dunes and other tidbits of village life! But for now we are on our way out of town for the weekend to go camping by the river under the mango trees!

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Oh those precious faces. What a blessing the team brought. I bet they too were blessed. Exciting work going on..such a thrill to the spirit to see, hear and know the difference you are making in peoples lives. Love to all - heather

Alicia & Jon said...

aww..we miss Niger and you guys! We're praying for you all :]