There are some services that are so desperately needed in this area – on e of them is dentist work. We were blessed by a group of dentists that were here for two full days from Texas. This group was special for so many reasons. The greatest was the heart that they truly had to serve these people.
I watched a dentist sit with a boy’s head in his lap for 3 ½ hours straight and work on his teeth. He extracted a tooth whose roots were wrapped around each other and filled three other badly decayed teeth. This dentist sat at the top of the stairs and I couldn’t help but look at my watch as I took patient after patient up the stairs. He continued to patiently focus on this boy and he stood with him where others may have quickly passed him off or pulled all of his teeth. This wasn’t the only case like this. They did not take a break to talk, get something to drink, or go to the bathroom. They came early in the morning and stayed till after it was dark. And for this the people were extremely grateful.
This team that comes doesn’t just do extractions either, they fill teeth and even do root canals. An added bonus for this team was the fact that most of the dentists from this team were completely fluent in Spanish meaning we only needed Quiche translators. Some of the dentists were originally from Puerto Rico so their Spanish was perfect. They made the patients laugh and comforted them knowing that many of them had been in pain for years because of broken or badly decayed teeth.
Between clinic and the dentists we saw over 200 patients in two days. At the end of the night, my brain was exhausted. I have come to realize that a day filled with translating Spanish in my head and finding the right words creates a massive headache. I am hoping as I am more immersed in the culture and language that the Spanish comes easier and easier!