Yesterday was eventful! The town of Copan was alive and celebrating. Their new mayor took office yesterday, and they are preparing for Wednesday’s celebration of a new President. It is certainly a fascinating time to be here. Our medical/dental students are bright, well-informed and opinionated about all the political happenings here. Interesting similarities to our country – too much media bias and the power of the political machine. One big difference though – the Hondurans do not elect their officials for more than one term. It is not law, but it rarely if ever happens. The town was alive all day yesterday with parties in the square, food and celebration. Last night we barely slept due to the fireworks and loud parties all night long.
Our hotel, Don Udos, is just wonderful. It is clean, really comfortable and we are safe here – we think. Last night Don Udo went out to check to see what all the noise was about and he tripped over the hotel’s sleeping security guard. People are a bit more laid back here!
Now, on to work! We set the clinics up yesterday and did a few dry runs. A lot of work, but I am impressed with the amount of equipment we have and what we have been able to do with extensions cords and generators. The dentists and oral surgeons will be working in one clinic, with the medical team just across the street. We have no idea how many people will be set to visit with us today, as “advertising” is strictly word of mouth (no pun intended.)
We are loaded with stuffed animals, coloring books, and crayons for the kids. And the day promises to bring great stories.
And great stories we have! We just returned from our first official day in clinic. Dr. Councell alone performed more than twenty exams, and the dental team was steady all all day long with people lined up out the door. The clinic opened at 8:30 a.m. and we wrapped up at about 4 p.m. having to turn people away. The children are amazing – they wait patiently for long periods of time just to be seen, then never make a peep as we numb, drill and fill teeth. Even in oral surgery, the three and four year olds make the best patients.
The day care was a big hit! The puzzles and the games. We were prepared for a mob scene but once again the kids played together, shared and were generally kind and appreciative of all that we brought them to play with.
We spent the last hour of the day organizing, splitting supplies and getting prepared to head out tomorrow to the rural parts of Honduras. We are going up into the mountains to the remote parts of this country, and we are taking portable dental units and medical supplies to do what we can. Half our team will continue to run the clinics here.
Tonight though, we celebrate! Don Udo is preparing a lobster dinner and right now I can hear the laughter and lively sounds from happy hour at the bar. A great day – we helped people and we are becoming fast friends!