It is a bittersweet transition morning. Patients will be discharged and three more surgeries will be done, after which the operating room will be packed up for storage. But the dental office has a full day! Patients are lined up and down the hallways waiting for Drs. Sarah and Laurie to come on duty. These two dedicated doctors have worked patiently with all of us inexperienced dental assistants this week. We have learned about the equipment, how to mix amalgams, and how to comfort tearful little kids. It is heartwarming to see the expression on a beautiful 10 year old face when she sees herself for the first time with no staining on her teeth. What a pretty smile she has! We give her vitamins, a toothbrush, paste, floss, and and a lesson in oral hygiene. Will she keep up with it? Will her mom help her? But mom has been busy with other babies the entire time. We can only hope our little girl will be encouraged enough to take care of her own smile.
Anna’s baby Karin was born last night! What an adorable and healthy little girl. Mom and baby are doing fine and everyone is overjoyed! Videographers Dave and Kathi are doing a follow-up to last year’s story on Gloria and Anna, so look for the link here.
Just when the dentists think their day is ending, Sandy announces that 5 new patients have arrived with “official” letters requesting treatment. It looks like the office will be open for a few more hours before clean up can begin.
Meanwhile other STJI equipment is being packed up to be stored for next year’s clinic. It’s a huge project which will take the rest of the day. It takes 8 men to move the 1,000 pound operating table onto the moving van. But STJI now has a brand new, secure and local storage facility which will simplify set up and break down for future trips. No more of the 5 hour drive back and forth to Guatemala City! Dave and Jackie are grateful for this new blessing.
Our young volunteer translators, under the guidance of Cesia and Rudy, are coming and going to say good-bye to everyone. I can’t tell you how essential they were to the success of this project. And the hospital staff, who initially seemed annoyed to have us in their space, will also be sorry to see us go. Even the cleaning ladies are smiling and friendly now, thankful for all the help and kindness they have been shown all week.
There is so much need in this impoverished country. The infrastructure is crumbling or non-existent.. There is civil unrest throughout the country preceding the impending elections. But the Lord is hard at work through organizations like STJI. We thank the Lord for this opportunity we have had to accomplish a small work in His Name. We hope it has been precious in your sight Lord.