Wednesday 24 June 2015

Laplap... and teeth

The sun is rising on another beautiful morning and I'm going to take the time to reflect before the day starts. The roosters and been crowing and the birds chirping for what seems like hours but there are sleepy little heads all around.

We are 4 days into our second week of clinic and the work is taking its toll on our bodies and heads. Together our team totaled over 90 extractions yesterday on around 60 patients in addition to numerous fillings, fluorides and oral health instruction. The patients range from 3 up to 75 years of age.

We have all been working on-site at the PMC clinic with the mobile clinic parked out front. When we arrive at work just before 8am the waiting room is full with 15-20 patients waiting to be seen and the numbers stay pretty steady throughout the day.

We have opened up a new surgery...a bed similar to what you would see in a Dr's rooms with an ok but fairly inadequate light. Some supplies, and that is all. Bar a few minutes that we might manage to sit we have been on our feet for days.

We have given up on the delightful 2 hour lunch break instead opting for a quick lunch and breath of fresh air before jumping back in. But despite the exhaustion we are all doing what we love and feel that our contribution is really appreciated. I arrived back from lunch yesterday to find 2 patients waiting for me. The mum gave us with 2 delicious homemade banana loaves and a bag of vanuatu flags to share with the team.mThe little boy presented me with a great magnet with a picture of Vanuatu to take home. Agnetha was kindly given a huge cucumber fresh from her patients garden. Lovely, touching little gestures.

We managed to fit in a visit to a stunning waterfront dental practice owned by Felipe... Felipe is a Brazilian who moved from Sydney around 5 years ago and runs the practice with his wife. Novo Dental  services the wider Vila area treating some of the 6000 expats in Vanuatu but also treats Ni-Van patients at a hugely reduced rate of $80 a procedure. He is a lovely guy and they run a fantastic state of the art practice overlooking the ocean in the Pacific.

The significant moments continued at dinner. Richard and his lovely wife Rosie invited us to have dinner with their family and we were treated to an amazing local feast. Abu, (Richard's Mum) spent hours grating a bucket full of Maniok to make the Laplap. This was baked in the ground with coconut milk and local cabbage and wrapped in banana leafs. Yum yum! After cooking for around 3 hours we lifted this onto a flax mat, unwrapped it and Abu chopped it into generous pieces with a huge, well used knife. We ate this with a yummy BBQ meats, salads and a chicken curry.


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