On November 6 and 7, 2012, Keith and Kelly Rodgers of Hope for Nica made a visit to our community as leaders of a Teethsavers Dental Brigade. Teethsavers conducts dental brigades in impoverished communities throughout the world, teaching oral health, doing routine checkups and filling minor cavities. But this is not all. In Nicarauga, Teethsavers is an organization which works with the ministry of health in order to train local dental technicians. When these technicians are not taking part in brigades for Teethsavers, they are at home helping their own communities!
Malnutrition, high sugar consumption (Nicaraguan’s consume more sugar per capita than any other country in the world), lack of funds for dental hygiene products, and a lack of dental services and education contribute to the generally troubling state of our students’ teeth. The long term results are evident in the state of the teeth of the adults in our community, who begin to lose theirs at an early age.
The Rodgers family and 3 technicians kicked off the brigade by conducting a dental health class in the streets. Over the course of 2 days, they then examined 132 of our students ages 6 – 13, filling 20 cavities, and visiting the homes of two of the most afflicted students. Kelly Rodgers also donated dresses on behalf of Dress a Girl Around the World to these students.
Teethsavers does not usually conduct brigades in our part of Nicaragua, but after months of campaigning we finally convinced the Rodgers’ group to pay us a visit from San Juan del Sur. While they work in Barrio la Planta, the poorest barrio outside of San Juan del Sur, still, in Pantanal they were shocked by the poverty they saw. One of the technicians, herself from a poor town in the mountains of Nicaragua, broke down crying when she made the home visits and saw how our children lived. She said had never seen such poverty in Nicaragua.
However challenging this brigade may have been for the team, we hope they think it was worth it as they made a big impact on the children’s lives they touched. Besides helping prevent future pain by filling in minor cavities, they no doubt had a lasting impact through the education they provided.
Thank you so much to the Rodgers family and the Teethsavers technicians for coming to visit us. May you be blessed as we have been blessed by you.