Malaria! Disease! Everyone I left in the states felt these would be the Haitian walls around me. There aren’t any walls of death, just smiles and curious children. Their shirts are pressed and whiter than my whites at home! Honestly. The students all wear uniforms to their respective schools and are as cute as can be. They live in such poverty, but if you saw them outside of their country you’d never know. They take pride in their appearance. They are laughing amongst the rubbish that surrounds them. They are playful even if they only have one meal. They are well-dressed even in the extreme heat.
Being a farm girl, I was up for the challenge of working, even in the heat. Haiti heat, however, is like working during the hottest and most humid day of the summer with only a few degrees of “relief” at night. The air is stale and the motionless leaves on the trees add to visual mockery. Today was a high of 92 degrees with matching humidity. It is quite impressive that Haitians are able to accomplish anything throughout the day with the heat.
Many of them will spend the day traveling to get water and bring it back to their homes. We can see them come all day long to use the new well our parish drilled about a year and a half ago. There is always a line of people waiting to fill their buckets. This week we see them walk great distances to come to our dental clinic as well. I can’t imagine the pain they must have had housing such decayed teeth in their mouths. The teeth may come out completely black or crumbled. There is such hope in the children’s teeth now though. The fluoride program we established is well-accepted. The biggest challenge is keeping the younger ones from drinking the bubblegum-flavored liquid, and keeping all the schools supplied. We love their smiles and hope to keep seeing them.
Another great team to be with! We are not seeing as many dental patients as we would normally see in Seguin, but it seems that the dental care is better here. But we are seeing plenty of patients, and they are thankful to be relieved of their pain. In the states we have options when we need dental care, but here in Haiti the options are very limited and people just learn to live with the pain. I feel fortunate to be here with this dental team to help those whom we can. Even if we only saw one patient, it would make a difference in that person’s life, and that is why God sent us here this week.