Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dentistry in Guatemala

I know this is super late coming but I thought it still deserved a look. In March I went to Guatemala to help do some dentistry. I am an assistant. I went for the adventure of it and to be moral support to my dad. My dad had decided to go after encouragement from his new partner Charlie. We stayed in Antigua and went to work in a small village that I now can't remember the name of. We worked in a small church that was set up to be a clinic.

Me and a cute girl who asked to have a picture with me after I finished helping work on her teeth.
We had high tech equipment.
Charlie and his native assistant
Dad and Steph (she works at my dad's practice)

Makeshift clinic.

There were 9 dentist of which only 2 spoke Spanish! Of the assistants one was from Guatemala and so his English was not very good. My Spanish was about as good as his English and I ended up being a translator. I would ask the patients their name and age and if anything hurt. Then came the hard part... understanding their reply. I was shocked how much my Spanish improved in just one week. In the clinic we also had a guy who had lived in Guatemala with the Peace Corps and he was indispensable. He was fluent in both English and Spanish and worked around dentistry enough to understand what was going on. (He is planning to go to dental school.)

My dad worked on this guy and when he came back to have more work done the next day he requested to have my dad work on him again!
I assisted Kulbir, pronounced Cool-Beer. And yes he is Canadian and yes he had the best accent ever. (I picked it up by the end of the week.) He is an endodontist so there was much blood and by the way we did not have a suction at our chair. I assisted with A LOT of extractions and there was even some surgery and stitches involved.
Kulbir was a very interesting character and wanted to promote prevention even though he spoke less Spanish than me. He had one of the Spanish speakers write out a script for him to tell the patients how to take care of their teeth. I was very impressed with that. I also gave a lot of brushing and flossing demos. Hopefully someone learned something!

The group.The guy on the green shirt was a local pastor who spoke English and was very helpful. The guy in the tan shirt right in front was a pastor who had moved from Canada I think, Pastor Gui. He help organize things though I dont think he spoke any spanish. Kulbir is in the gray on the left. Most the group was from either Canada or Wisconsin area. My dad, Charlie, Steph and I were the only ones from the west.
Steep uphill to go home. The wall gives a better idea of how steep it was.

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