An Apple a day
For many, going to the dentist is not our favourite thing, an activity we’d prefer to avoid. Truth is, nothing keeps the dentist away like poverty! And yet for an impoverished mother of three with an infected tooth so badly infected that her jaw is swollen and the pain is impeding her ability to talk, eat and work, the help of a dentist is enviable. Last week she got that help. For many, going to the dentist is not our favourite thing, an activity we’d prefer to avoid. Truth is, nothing keeps the dentist away like poverty! And yet for an impoverished mother of three with an infected tooth that is causing so much pain that she can barely talk, eat and work, the help of a dentist is enviable. Last week she got that help.
On Thursday the team attended an RT Foundation Dental Camp in a remote village some 40 minutes into the rice fields. In spite of morning rain, the camp was able to treat over 60 patients that day. Each one queuing for hours to receive free dental care. Some of the Australian team assisted in distributing medicines or taking blood sugars. But for the most part we stood back and observed, whilst local doctors and dentists moved through the crowds of people. One young lady from the village approached me excitedly, having remembered me from years ago. She studied at the New Life Home and is now married with two children. She hopes to return to her profession as a lab assistant when her children are a little older. Her happiness testified to the fruit of child sponsorship. Everywhere we go there is evidence of changed lives.
I also got to speak to Dr Arnu, the head dentist. She owns an upper-class clinic in the city and volunteered her time and staff after hearing about our mobile dental van. I thanked her for her wonderful generosity but she turned the thanks to those who give their financial support, “Without the help of the sponsors there would be no van, no facilities, no supplies and no people getting treatment, without their support it is not possible”.
For me, it was small snatshot of the Hebrew word echad, meaning ‘”one”, it implies a unity within diversity. In that moment, each part acknowledged its difference in role, culture and personhood, whilst knowing a greater connectivity and unity in a shared humanity and its cause.