In total, the dental brigade treated 320 patients, pulled 769 teeth, and completed 72 fillings in the 4 communities we visited. Though the smiles with which we were welcomed now include a few more missing teeth, they were much bigger when we left given the pain that has been alleviated.
We made a difference in the life of the child who cannot sleep at night, the woman who cannot chew her food, and the man who suffers the unbearable pain of infection. For a few days, the Miskito people of the Bosawas shared with us their stories, their culture, and their way of life – a life drastically different from our own.
Members of the dental brigade stepped out of their comfort zone and into the Zone with a simple desire to not only provide treatment for those in remote regions who may not otherwise have access to it, but also to connect with people.
The younger members of the group found common ground through play by introducing American Football to eager little boys and calming the nerves of anxious little girls waiting for extractions. The older members of the group found common ground with parents and grandparents concerned for the health of their children and grandchildren. We were all connected by the simple concept of people helping people.
We got our butts kicked in a baseball game (too embarassing to be detailed); we had our hands squeezed by small children (too brave to be believed); and we were treated to the simplicity that is the Bosawas (too beautiful to be described).