Dr Bob was honored to participate in the 2017 El Nino Rey Dental mission trip to serve the town of Teozintla, Mexico. This years 15 member team included 5 dentists, 1 hygienist, 8 volunteers, and Father Matt Foley, the founder of El Nino Rey. Each year, a village is selected for the Dental clinic so as to best cover this region of Guerrero.
To reach this year’s destination of Teozintla, a flight was taken from Chicago to Houston, then on to Acapulco. Once through Mexican Customs, a 3.5 hour bus ride to Quechultenengo was taken. Saturday night was spent in a rented house where the team organized supplies and equipment. Early Sunday morning two supply trucks were loaded with the clinic equipment and supplies. The team, along with two Federales guards, rode the trucks on the mostly rough rock and dust roads for a 2.5 hour journey to the village of Teozintla.
Once in Teozintla, the trucks were quickly unloaded and the Dental clinic set up. After a short lunch break, the clinic opened. Patients were treated Sunday from 1:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, patients were seen from 9:00A.M. until 8:00 P.M. On Thursday, the final clinic day, patients were treated from 8:00A.M. until noon.
In total, 332 patients were treated, providing 207 cleanings, 526 fillings, and 446 extractions. A large amount of tooth decay in children was observed. This is caused by the increased consumption of sugary soda drinks and candy. Many villages have small business store fronts stocking many sugary treats. The kids now have easy access to these treats. Educating the parents and children on prevention is a priority.
Thursday afternoon, the clinic was broken down, packed and reloaded on the trucks. The afternoon return trip to Quachul was followed by an effort to reorganize, inventory, and clean all supplies and equipment. On Friday morning, the bus was taken back to Acapulco for one day of R and R. The team returned home late Saturday night after a long stop over at the Houston airport.
Volunteers sleep on the floor using air mattresses , take bucket showers, and eat authentic food cooked by our local contacts. Only bottled water is used. There are No toilet seats in the village, so standing is the norm. Generators are used to run our equipment. Volunteers pay for all travel costs and accommodations. Supplies are brought from the USA using green and gray travel crates. The team was awakened late Sunday night with a 4.8 Magnitude earthquake that shook the clinic building. Scorpions are a common site.
This was Dr. Bob’s 7th El Nino Rey Trip, but first to Teozintla. Please enjoy some of the pictures that were taken. Visit Dr Bob’s Family Dental Facebook page for more photos.