Nicaragua Mission May 2011
By Therese Becker (Volunteer Dental Assistant)
I never imagined last September that my life would change as much as it has these last few months. It took only one phone call and the offering of my time and services for this change to happen. When I say change, I not only mean physically and mentally, but also a heartstrings-pulling and heart- fulfilling change.
Ah yes……let’s talk about pulling and filling.
The Light of the World Dental Clinic is a free clinic we have once a month to help those in our community that have nowhere else to turn due to the misfortune in their lives. My intention was to only volunteer my services at the local clinic. Little did I imagine, at that time, that I would also be traveling with the Dental team to another country to help those in need. This last May, medical and dental teams traveled to Matagalpa, in the mountainous, northern region of Nicaragua.
It was not the beautiful mountains, superb scenery, birds and wildlife nor the fact thatMatagalpa is the coffee capital of Nicaragua that will remain in my thoughts. The sight I will never forget, as we rounded the corner at the hospital outside the room we were using for our Dental clinic, was the long lines of people waiting for the “American” Dentist and his team. That was the beautiful but at the same time sad sight I will never forget. I actually stopped in my tracks and all that came out of my mouth was a breathy “WOW”. As we walked through the crowd…their big eyes followed us in a very hopeful way. “Buenas dias”, “ hola”, “ buenas dias” and on and on. Now, you may ask why I thought the sight of all those people sad? That is where the heartstrings-pulling change came in. I knew, for a fact, that we would not be able to help all of them.
Each day the lines seemed to be longer. Some Nicaraguan nursing students would help us in translation and help us pick the patients that we would be able to help with the services we were limited to (pulling and filling). We were only able to see about 25 patients a day. The rest would try to return the next day, to stand in line again, with the hopes of being helped. It amazed me how many people came just by word of mouth. It also amazed me how far some of the people would walk(the major mode of transportation) to get to the hospital to see us.
At the end of each day, as we traveled back up the mountain to Hotel Selva Negra, I could not help but think that the quietness in the van was not only due to the teams being exhausted but also many of us deep in thought. Thoughts of what Theresa Banks had told me came to mind. We cannot help everyone. But for each person we do help, the difference we make in that persons’ life is great. That is where the heart-fulfilling change comes in.
Thank you Light of the World Charities!
Therese Becker (Volunteer Dental Assistant)