I know many of you have been eager to hear about our trip to Kenya. It has been a wonderful journey for us personally and as a team. We spent most of our time at the Oasis for Orphans children’s home, located in southwest Kenya. There we got to meet the staff and the children and hear some of their stories.
All the children have sad stories of how they got to be at the orphanage, but feel so blessed to now have good rooms with beds and dressers, nutritious food to eat, clothes and shoes to wear, books to read and the opportunity to go to the nearby school. They gave us a warm welcome and truly loved having us around. They loved to hear about our families and enjoyed looking at the family pictures we brought (over and over again)!
We quickly found out they were a little apprehensive about dental treatment since they never had any before. We decided to treat some of the adult staff first so the children could watch and see that we were causing them no pain. We found many dental problems in the adults we saw, from severely broken down teeth that were causing pain to tartar build-up due to the absence of dental care and limited education about their teeth.
We did many extractions, fillings and cleanings and the adults were so thankful that we eliminated the cause of their pain and they could now eat on both sides of their mouths. The children watched through the open windows with curious eyes and loved making jokes with us and their friends. They quickly learned that what we were doing was only meant to help and not hurt them, and before long the children were eager to jump in the chair and let us look at their teeth.
We were able to complete dental cleanings, fillings, extractions if needed, and fluoride treatments on all the kids and they all left the clinic with a smile on their face. As we worked on their teeth we stressed the importance of brushing and flossing. Also, feeling that education is a big part of long term dental health, our team put together a presentation about dental hygiene and the effects of sugary foods on the teeth.
They loved learning about how to brush and floss, and over the course of the trip we saw them taking care of their teeth which always put a smile on our face! We worked long hours because we were determined to take care of all their dental needs to avoid any major problems in the future.
Our team was the first of its kind to visit the orphanage, so another goal we accomplished was to record all the dental exams we performed and to document all the completed dental treatment, so that future dental teams could easily continue their care. We were also able to inventory and store all the remaining dental supplies for future use.
We saw a total of 244 patients, did 91 fillings and 98 extractions. Our dental care goals were accomplished!
On a personal level, our hearts melted by the love the children showed us and by how much our presence was appreciated and welcomed. As their guests, we were treated like royalty and all the Kenyans we met were happy to share the little they had with us. They stressed that we needed to give their greetings and love to our families, friends, church and coworkers upon our return. So… “Greetings!”
We thought Kenya would be dry and barren but in reality it was green and lush. We passed by many creeks and were amazed by the many herds of cows, goats and sheep, and the hard-working donkeys. Fields of corn, tea and sugarcane could be seen everywhere.
We spent the last couple of days going on Safari. From the safety of our vans (and with the guidance of our experienced drivers) we saw zebras, antelopes, impalas, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, families of elephants, lions, and even a leopard!
Sometimes, running between our offices and our homes, work, school, and activities, we tend to forget about the natural wonders out there that are so beautiful and pure. Our entire team feels so blessed to have had this opportunity to serve in Kenya. Thank you for allowing us to share with you the joy we were part of!