Oral Health Mission to Guatemala
With our deepest gratitude, we would first like to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to Henry Schein Cares Foundation for your generous donations of supplies (300 exam kits, 300 dental hygiene kit supplies and 150 fluoride treatments), as well as Toms Of Maine for their generous donation of toothpaste to S.A. (so we brought a few cases along!), and Faithful Steps, our partnering team in Guatemala.
We would also like to thank Cinnamon Baldwin of Cinnamon Shear Garden in Titusville, Gina Scott and her friends in Virginia, Friends of Lucrecia Rogers at the Bob Hope Village in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the Lutter and Worst families, as well as Garden of Hope in West Palm Beach, for the generous donation of handmade items, Michigan Tech University and Technical Sergeant Paul Creelman with the ROTC program for their supply donations, as well as many friends and local Brevard County Dentists. Your gifts were greatly appreciated by the children and families of Guatemala!
Your support makes our work possible!!!
Total Fluoride Treatments: 300 Total Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss: 1100
Day 1: Primary School, Village of Las Conchas, Zone 25 ~ 100 fluoride treatments and dental hygiene kits for children and teachers.
We arrived at the school at 9am to unexpected and overwhelming cheers and group hugs from the children that brought all our volunteers to tears. They were so happy to see us and so filled with love for us Americans, we knew our mission was already a success.
Before treatments we had to clean out and disinfect one of the schools classrooms as our driver and 2 Guatemalan volunteers with Faithful Steps began the process of organizing the children and running them through the proper steps for brushing and flossing, each having been provided a new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.
Once this step was complete, we provided fluoride treatments donated by Henry Schein cares for all 100 children.
The children would hug us and say thank you in English before sitting down, some a little scared we were pulling teeth that day and had to be reassured we were not. So sweet!!!
We then walked the village, visiting families and being invited into homes to see new construction and to better understand how they live. Some villagers still living in 20′ x 40′ one-room homes, built with metal siding, holes for more light and most of the older homes with dirt floors. Recently, volunteers have been building concrete floors and walls with electrical throughout as well as a water system for the entire village.
Day 2: Celebrating 4th of July as Americans by visiting Basurero Zone 3 (dump site) with hugs and smiles for everyone along with dental hygiene kits, and providing 45 fluoride treatments.
When our Guatemalan volunteers explained we were going to the Basurero, (dump site) where they teach children English and we would be in a very small church to provide our education, supplies and fluoride treatments, it never crossed our minds that we would be, literally, in the middle of the dump where families live and sort all the trash brought there from several zones in the area. The smell took a bit to get used to so we decided to stay in the van until we could get acclimated to it and begin our day with positive love and excitement for the children we were about to meet.
And boy did they have very big, very strong, white teeth! We can contribute this to minimal sugars and junk foods. Genetics as well with the over crowding of teeth in most of the Mayan children we saw in this particular region of Guatemala. Thank you Melissa Jefferson of Christian Academy of Guatemala and Erick Fuentes for your hospitality.
Days 3 and 4 Village of La Bendicion ~ 165 fluoride treatments and dental hygiene care packages for children and adults.
WOW!!! What an amazing two days. I took a video as I walked to the school to gather the children and bring them up to the church, being welcomed by all. (video posted below)
No matter how much you prepare yourself for what you think it will be, it’s always ten times worse. The children are in tin classrooms with no electricity, the only light is through the holes made in the tin to see, dirt floors and a make shift “lunch table” where they prepare snacks and food for the school. Skinny, hungry dogs running through the village everywhere and yet, the laughter of the children running around the courtyard makes you forget about the conditions and focus solely on them and how truly happy they are. What we experienced is something that can’t be explained fully, only understood by those who are blessed to see it and experience it for themselves.
The village allowed us space in the church to teach, play and provide our services. As you can see in the video and through the pictures, it shows the love and kindness we found throughout Guatemala. Many families invited us into their homes for dinner as a thank you for helping their children, a young blind girl gently being guided by her friends to us (yes, I shed another few tears), Volunteers taking a few minutes to cherish the newest villager, a baby girl born just the day before.
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO LINK! https://www.facebook.com/smileangelfoundationinc/videos/810832979032434/
Day 5: San Juan De Dios General Hospital, today we visited the children in four different wards of the public hospital (burn ward, pediatric surgery, cancer/leukemia/kidney failure, spina bifida/hydrocephalia). Several different donors provided hand made hats and booties as well as toys, stuffed animals and coloring books. Our volunteers met with every child in the hospital and handed bags filled with goodies and dental hygiene care packages to the children and their caregivers.
At this county hospital, parents (caregivers) are required to stay with the child 24 hours a day to help with the care and monitoring of the children. We spent several hours playing cards, coloring, comforting and sharing some love throughout the hospital.
The Smile Angel Foundation and our wonderful volunteers can not wait for Mission Trip 2016!!