A blur of days
Volunteers with the dental team left the U.S. on Feb. 14 and spent the majority of the day traveling to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where they then spent the night in a hotel. The group was greeted by the navy and Fesche the next morning before boarding a bus to Salinas, where the clinic would be set up for the duration of the trip.
After a nearly two-hour bus trip, stopping only at a grocery store for food and water supplies, the group made it to the navy base, where the clinic and accommodations were located. Everyone was given a few minutes to get things situated in their rooms, and then it was off to set up the clinic.
The rest of the day was spent unpacking a mass of boxes into a makeshift dental clinic where children would be seen for the next few days.
The following days were a blur of patient after patient, some with fine teeth and others with them rotting out of the child's head. The triage area saw all 502 patients over the five-day span the clinic was open. Bob Scott, Becki Maurio and Dale Horn were primarily in charge of triage, funneling children from the main waiting area to another waiting area, where the dentists and hygienists would treat each one.
Maurio, a translator from Westminster, said it was exciting to be a part of a group with the ability to get the job done no matter what.
"I'm still so impressed with the focus." Maurio said. "I've said to a number of people since I got back, it didn't matter that it was hot, it didn't matter that something broke down or didn't work the way we thought it would, people were just extremely focused on the mission and why we were there. And that we saw over 500 kids in five days is almost unbelievable. And yet, I was there, I saw it."
The children were so patient while they waited with no iPod or video games to entertain them. When they were let inside, the kids knew they would be sitting for a long time, but Ecuadent had a way to keep them busy, at least at some points during the day. Some officers with the navy helped out by blowing bubbles with the children and even holding a dance competition to PSY's "Gangnam Style" for a new toothbrush. No worries, every child eventually received at least one toothbrush, even if they didn't dance to the widely popular tune.
On the final day, the children the group could not get to were given toothpaste, toothbrushes, snacks and water to take home; leaving no child in sight without something in hand.