El Chaparral, Nicaragua
Trip Report - 2017
Our trip to the community of El Chaparral in northern Nicaragua was a very rewarding experience. We had an excellent team of dedicated volunteers whose hard work, commitment and support contributed to the success of the mission trip. The organizing committee in El Chaparral welcomed us into their community and took excellent care of us during our visit. The communities that we served were very appreciative for the treatment that we provided. We changed a lot of smiles!
There are always unexpected challenges that occur when organizing a mission trip. We were informed last minute that our interpreter was no longer available. Friends and family of Oscar, our interpreter from last year, stepped up to assist us. It was a wonderful experience and great to make new connections with Victor, Alex and Hernan. Blaine Aucoin, Julian Buchwald and Dennis McLaughlin arrived in Nicaragua on
February 8th, 2017. Unfortunately, our paperwork had not arrived but they were able to get into the country without too much difficulty. They headed off to Achuapa the next day to load our equipment for transport. They discovered that some of our bins had water damage and critters! We lost some of our supplies but it was not anything critical. We had already planned to store our equipment in Managua next year where ...(read more)
October - Trip Report
New Clinic Managua, October, 2016
Bev and I arrived in Managua on October 4 ready to begin establishing a dental clinic in the Barrio of Edgar Lang. We had been successful in raising funds to establish this clinic in honor of Padre Denis Hebert, an Edmonton Archdiocesan priest who had dedicated most of his life in working with the poor in Peru, the Island of St. Vincent and Nicaragua. He had spent the last 25 years working with the poor people of the Barrio of Edgar Lang. Padre Denis passed away in 2015 (for more info go to www.rootsofchange.ca).
Bev and I arrived in Edgar Lang on October 5 and would be staying in the same apartment Padre Denis had lived in for most of his life in this Barrio. It consisted of a small kitchen, small living room and small bedroom and bathroom. He had a nice sitting area outside with a few tables and chairs and great rocking chairs. No air conditioning, but a fan was provided as the average temperature during our stay was 33 C.
Padre Denis had built a medical clinic, pharmacy and lab. It has a full time medical doctor, pharmacist and lab technician. It is a two story building and the new dental clinic would be on the second floor. We had to make some minor renovation changes and had storage cupboards built.
As the cupboards had not been finished, we proceeded to go and buy a compressor for our clinic. The University had provided the name of a supplier that we should go to. As we had researched some suppliers in January, we basically knew what we wanted. The compressor we purchased required a surge protector (Managua electricity has varying degrees of fluctuation during the day). The compressor would be delivered that day (it came the day after). We went to two other supply companies as we needed an instrument sterilizer, apex locator (root canals) and cavitron inserts.
The clinic was busy coming together. You learn a lot of patience when working in Nicaragua. You make arrangements to pick up things, and quite often you wait for a couple of hours for the delivery, but you always seem to get it. Bev was busy (more...)
Comitancillo 2015 Update
Fall 2015 DFA - Comitancillo Trip Report
Comitancillo Oct.21 - Nov.2, 2015
An energetic group of volunteers from Canada, USA and Guatemala joined forces this last October to provide essential dental services to many in need in rural Comitancillo and surrounding areas. As customary, Dentistry For All teamed up with AMMID, a local non-profit based in Comitancillo, to reach out to the communities most in need and to facilitate our patient flow. Local DFA employees Edvin and Romaldo spent countless hours in advance of the trip to prepare equipment and supplies in order to make most efficient our time in Guatemala. Over the course of six clinic days, 276 patients received a grand total of 787 dental procedures. These services ranged from dental cleanings to extractions, root canals, fillings and preventive sealants. Every patient received counseling in their native language on preventive care and left with a new toothbrush.
On the program development side of things, we had a great meeting with the leader of AMMID who is assisting us in preparing a clinic opportunity for a graduating Guatemalan to work in Comitancillo in a partnership with DFA helping those most in need. This type of collaboration will allow DFA to grow and maintain an on-going presence with a sustainable model, each year teaming up with a graduating student from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. DFA's board of directors is actively negotiating with interested parties both in Comitancillo and Guatemala City to see this come to fruition.
When all is said and done, nothing leaves more of a lasting impression than the smiles on the young kids and the sincere appreciation of the patients sitting in our chairs. None of this would be possible without the dedication, energy and commitment of all of our volunteers. A heartfelt thank you to our team from Canada: Wade Bell and Chantal Cole; from USA: Dary Hak, Liz Clark, Idin Zhalehdoust, Michelle Prieto, Stephanie Trahan; and from Guatemala: Edvin Lopez, Camilo Espana, Eddy Galvan, Ansy Saloj, Emilie, Romaldo, Estuardo and Dna. Hilda. Looking forward to the next trip back, knowing full well it won't be here soon enough :-)
El Remate 2015 Update
Spring 2015 DFA - El Remate Trip Report
From April 15th through April 27th, 24 volunteers from Canada and the US undertook our 48th International Dental Mission in Guatemala's Northern department of Peten - the 3rd one for DFA volunteers in the 2015 year. The village of El Remate was the very hot, very humid location of the main clinic for six days of non-stop dentistry. Though El Remate was our base, we also provided care to two nearby communities: the aldea of San Pedro about 25 kilometres away, and a local hospital clinic in the town of San Benito, about 45 minutes away by car.
After over a decade of working in the region, we are now extending our services and focusing on outreach programs, bringing our educational programming and services to those in very remote communities, many of which have never seen a dentist. By creating sustainable community dental care, while still reaching out to... read more
Comitancillo 2015 Update
Winter 2015 DFA - Comitancillo Trip Report
This February, we had an excellent team of volunteers from all over North and Central Americas join us in Comitancillo, San Marcos, Guatemala. With a team of 21 total volunteers, we had representatives from Nova Scotia, Alberta, Wisconsin, Georgia, Indiana and Guatemala working on the dental mission trip. With a 50:50 mix of new and returning volunteers, we hit the ground running with enthusiasm and hard work.
Over the week we were in Guatemala, this group of volunteers treated 400 patients and performed 1229 procedures in 6 days. Some wonderful school children back in North America collected almost 500 pairs of shoes so that every single patient left their dental experience with a new pair of shoes to take home. The children’s eyes would light up when they would get to see... read more
Nicaragua 2015 Update
Our team in group two consisted of Dr.’s Blaine, Trudy and Jim, Wanda, RDA, Annie, Kirsteen, Nancy our sterilizer and of course Bev and I. Oscar interpreted again for our final group and Jayson traveled with us the last week to assist in interpreting.
We saw 253 patients and completed 1158 procedures, including 17 endos. So total for the two teams came in at 531 patients, 2352 procedures including 36 endos. I will be sending everyone a much more detailed report of the entire mission.
We made such a difference in the community. As Ruber mentioned in his speech, most people realize they have front black teeth from decay and hide their ... read more
Our young team of dentists and hygienist graduates from the Class of 2013 have completed their first dental mission with DFA. This team was completely new with the exception of Dr. Don who had been the previous year. The number of patients we saw and procedures we did were incredible. We saw 278 patients, completed 1194 procedures which included 19 endos. We had a great team; Ali, Courtney, Susan, Jenny, Cheylene, Don our hygienist, and Bev and I with Don. Ken rounded up the team doing the sterilizing. We had both Oscar and Jayson doing the interpreting for us
Our working conditions were a little tight with
4 dental spaces and a sterilizing area. We had to move bags and boxes out of the house each day to... read more