Thursday, July 5, 7 volunteers, 4 dentists, one dental assistant, one occupational therapist, one fireman left Toronto to Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay for a dental mission for the needy sponsored by Health Mission Outreach. We will be joining 4 young ladies, two nursing students and two high school students, from Asuncion, Paraguay to form a 11 member mission team. It is my seventh mission trip to Paraguay.
We arrived in Ciudad Del Este on July 6 in the afternoon, two hours behind schedule due to delay by Tam airline. The Paraguay customs was very polite upon our arrival and escorted us to the VIP room while they processed our passport and luggages. Everything went smoothly except I lost my personal luggage. It was sent to Asuncion by error. I received my luggage back the next day. We left the airport in the darkness and went to our hotel, Arcary. We checked in and our host invited us for a meat barbecue dinner. The organizer bought me some clothing to tie me over till next day. It was very nice of him.
Saturday, July 7, we woke up early and arrived at our mission site, Pentacostal Church, at 7 am to set up and get ready to work. The working area is very small and difficult to move around. The condition is not ideal but we will make it work. There were make-shift patient chairs, and doctor stools. The pace was very slow in the morning because we are learning as we go. We picked up the pace in the afternoon. overall it was a good day and our back is hurting from improper chairs and postures. The clinic ended around 6 pm. It became our daily routine for the next 5 days.
Sunday, July 8, we came early again and work hard to keep up the pace of the clinic. The line up is long and many waited for hours. The locals have many tooth decays, poor periodontal condition with no oral hygiene. One gentleman told us that he tried to save for four years to have his teeth treated but today he is happy that he got it for free. It was another tiring day of work for everyone but the smile on the patients were our reward.
Monday, July 9, we reached our peak. Today, we worked hard and treated over 100 patients with efficiency and speed. Everyone was happy because the clinic worked out well.
Tuesday, July 10, our scheduled patients were late to arrive. They are local Indigenous people resided about 100 km away. In the meantime, the organizer called in the July 11 patients and local needy people. The Indigenous people never arrived? We worked another hard day and happy to know tomorrow is our last day. I joked and told other doctors that if we worked this hard in Toronto, we could retire early.
Wednesday, July 11, the organizer told us that the clinic will be half day because we will be visiting the Itaipu power plant. We worked pass 2 pm, packed and felt happy and sorry the clinic is over. The Itaipu power plant was spectacular and we took many pictures for memory.
Thursday, July 12, we visited the Iguassu Fall, in Brazil. Again it was spectacular and we took many pictures for memory.
Over all, the mission was wonderful, the organizer, Miss Carol Kao, was sincere and first person to arrive every morning and last to leave. Patients are needy and appreciate our services. Country of Paraguay was beautiful and rich in cultures. All the doctors and volunteers have expressed interest to return in 2013. We saw about 500 patients and provided about $150,000.00 to $200,000.00 Canadian, of free dental service.
We would like to thank the doctors, volunteers and Paraguay volunteers, the patients and friends that made this mission a success.
We would also like to thank theParaguay Ambassador, his staff and the Embassy in Ottawa for all the assistance to make this mission possible.
Dr. Lun hangfu
Health Mission Outreach