Cosmetic & Family Dentist - Saint Paul
757 Cleveland Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55116
On Saturday morning we had our last devotion led by Bonnie Whipps and said our last good-byes. We will all go back to our jobs and families with a better understanding of how fortunate we are and how much work there is yet to be done. We will be sent a slideshow of all of our photos from 17 different sites in the country of Belize. Just like most missions, we will take away much more than we gave.
Next stop: PANAMA! My daughter is in the Peace Corps in a remote area in the middle of Panama. When we visit there I will take toothbrushes, flouride, and attempt to do some sealants without any dental equipment. Although my daughter is on an environmental project, she does some education in the elementary school, so I will try to have her start a brushing program in the school on a daily basis and hopefully we can get the teachers to help us continue that.
On Friday as many dentists as possible went back to the Lion's Den for the morning. The rest of us had plenty of work to do getting all the equipment ready to ship back to the USA, gathering our stats, and delivering rice & beans. The "Rice & Beans" project was started a few years ago by a dental assistant from Idaho. We all pool our money and purchase rice and beans in bulk from the mainland and divide it into bags enough to feed a family for a week. On Ambergris Caye groceries are very expensive and a supermarket as we know it is nonexistent. We delivered the bags to the poorest community in all of Belize, San Mateo. It is quite an experience to walk through that neighborhood. The people were so appreciative.
Today we were assigned to the San Pedro Lion's Club pavilion in downtown San Pedro in Ambergris Caye. Six dentists set up their stations and worked on a first come first serve basis. Even though the Belize Mission Project has been going to the "Lions Den" for 18 years, there is still plenty of dentistry to be done. Patients were lined up in rows of folding chairs waiting patiently for their turn. This year we were fortunate to have lab technicians to help with dentures. They worked literally day and night to process dentures started on Monday and delivered today. At 5:45 we packed up our supplies for the last time. Tomorrow this site will be seeing patients and the rest of us will be getting equipment to the airport and working on the Rice and Beans project.
On Thursday our assignment was at the San Pedro Lion's Den open air pavilion. That meant we could sleep in a little and go to the 7:00 am devotion on the beach. A Canadian dentist gave a testimony of her faith and what the mission trip has meant to her.
They were so happy with the work we did in Magnolia Heights with the school children they invited us to come back on Wednesday. Another day trip on Tropic Air. Even on a mission trip in Belize consent forms are required, so coming back meant we were allowed to do much more. We had a very satisfying day because we were able to fill a few teeth on each child and then seal everything else in sight and finish up with a flouride treatment. Brenda and I did hundreds of sealants. This is the best chance for these kids to save their teeth. It is so common to see adults with missing 6 year molars, so hopefully we helped them avoid that.
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