Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9

We kicked things into high gear again today in the town of Boca Chica. Our “clinic” today was a much more spacious church with plenty of room to spread out, move around, and work.

On nearly every expedition over the last 3 years, Dr. Roy Hammond encounters at least one young teenage girl who through abuse or bad health has suffered from the loss of a beautiful smile. Roy goes out of his way to give at least one girl her smile back and in turn, a brighter future. This expedition was no exception. We met a young teenaged girl on Saturday

who had lost all but one of her front teeth. Roy went to work and invited her to return today in the town where we were working. She made arrangements to find us and Roy completed treatment today totally transforming her smile and her appearance. During the “reveal” this afternoon, she just stared in the mirror in disbelief. It was an amazing transformation and a great experience to see her face light up when she saw her new smile. There was no question that her future will be much brighter just like her smile.

Seeing the number of patients that we do every day, there are always unexpected moments. Some can be tense. One of our Dominican hygienists became slightly startled this morning when her patient’s jaw locked open. Unable to help him she turned for some help from Dr. Tom Pekar who was working close by. Dr. Tom was the perfect man for the job with specialty training from his late wife who was a physiologist who told him several years ago, “If you are doing things that may put patients in this situation, you better know how to fix it correctly.” Tom stepped in and quickly gathered our Dominican dentist friends around as he turned this moment into a teaching one as he instructed the entire group how to

properly handle such a situation and keep your fingers in tact! The problem was quickly solved and Tom challenged our Dominican dentist friends to pass on the knowledge to others when the next opportunity presented itself. Tom took a moment to have some fun and replay the situation with the patient with some facial expressions to add some sprice to the situation! It was a great “save” by Tom and a nice teaching moment.

With the large numbers of children and adults waiting to be seen each day, Abby Anderson and Taira Hovden (both age 12) take time from their duties inside to interact and entertain some of the children outside with some red rubber ball kick ball, face painting, and nail painting. The girls become instantly popular each time they interact with the children attracting dozens who mob them at one time. There are some great moments watching the two cultures interact at a very young age.

We wrapped up our day by going this evening to the dental school at La Univercidad Central del Este. This is the dental school with which we have partnered over the last three years for our expeditions. Earlier this year, Dr. Roy and Frances Hammond spent an entire month here in the Dominican Republic guiding two different Crown Council expeditions between which they spent a lot of time teaching at the dental school.

As a surprise this evening, the Rector of the university,

Dr. Jose Hazim Frapier, Director of the dental school, Dra. Johanna Nicolas, and other university officials gathered along with our group, the dental students, and the university choir to
bestow upon Dr. Hammond an honorary doctorate degree for his decades of humanitarian work around the world. They also created a beautiful tribute to Frances Hammond that was very moving. It was an honor for all of us to be part of this special moment that was so well deserved by both Roy and Frances who have probably done more humanitarian dentistry over the years than any other couple.

It has been another moving, worthwhile day here in the Dominican Republic as we work, serve, mentor, and give back to a people who are most grateful.

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