Submitted by Teresa Chavez
Dr. Scott Chavez, (son of Dan and Teresa Chavez), had the opportunity to go to San Pedro Sula,
Honduras as part of Smiles for Central America. 682 Patients were treated by the dentists, hygienists, oral surgeons, endodontists, optometrists, physicians, barbers, photographers, and others to obtain physicals, eye exams and glasses, wisdom teeth extractions, restorations, root canals, exams, cleanings and radiographs, photographs, and even haircuts as needed.
The clinic was held at an LDS Stake Center in San Pedro Sula and we mainly treated young men and young women. Some traveled 8-plus hours to obtain their needed dental and medical treatment. They left their homes around midnight in buses to arrive around 8 a.m. They stayed until their group was completely done with all their needed dental and medical treatments. Sometimes it would be around midnight before they boarded the bus to travel the 8 hours back home. The clinic was open for 5 full days for about 14 hours a day. Some of the youth ended up having physicals, pictures, hair cuts, exams, wisdom teeth extractions, root canal treatments, and dozens of other restorations along with their cleaning. They were tired and worn out, but very appreciative to have the work done and pain gone. Local dentists and others were set up to provide follow up care as needed.
Along with the clinical experience, we were organized in small groups to help in various places such as: children’s cancer hospitals, individual’s homes, day cares, orphanages, and newborn centers to provide care and humanitarian supplies. Home-made quilts and blankets, costumes for the young ones, drawing and coloring pads, crayons, stuffed animals, watches, soccer balls, clothes, and family photos were some of the donations given to the families. I was surprised that some families never had photos before. The mothers cried as a new colored family photo was taken, printed and framed for their home.
The service trip with Smiles for Central America in Honduras, was an amazing experience and group to attend with. Everything was very organized, safe and very friendly. All those who attended paid their own way along with paying for supplies, travel and food. The amount of supplies, organization, and man power necessary to make this trip a success was amazing. At the end of the service trip, we had a couple of days on Roatan Island to enjoy. We were able to relax, scuba dive, snorkel and enjoy the beauty of the ocean. The whole experience was wonderful and an eye opener to their way of living, culture, foods, able to help and serve, and being away from so many commonalities that we take for granted on daily basis.
Many dentists, companies and businesses donated supplies to make this great event all happen. I want to personally thank Dr. Steven Klomp for helping make this possible for me to attend by donating many supplies, including: anesthetics, composites, and amalgams.