In the spring of 2004, an excited group of four met with Annette Vickers of P.A.N. for their first meeting that would lead them on a journey to Nicaragua. The focus of this group was “dental care”. For eight months this team fundraised money and supplies from generous people and dental supply houses. Putting together eight to ten hockey bags was not a hard task. These bags were filled with supplies for a 10 day dental mission in Managua. The anticipation was to see 80 – 100 people per day.
The team left on October 29, 2004. They visited six Churches and worked full days from approximately 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Out of the ten days stay, six were work days, two were travel days, one was Sunday – no work and one was a play day).
The work days were filled with children and adults, some with acute dental needs, but yet others were cavity free. The only dental procedures that they were able to provide, because of lack of equipment, was extractions and some light scaling/cleaning. The Nicaragua people were very appreciative and the days flew by. The patients brought gifts of thanks, ie: food and crafts.
The mission trip was entitled “Open Wide”. It was to be taken literally for patients to open wide, but it also meant for the dental caregivers to open their hearts, minds and eyes to the needs around them. God was with their every step.
Our team consisted of: Alan I, Cindy, Deb and Suri, our Nicaraguan dental student.