Gail Taylor – Uganda February 2018

The dental charity in the UK and overseas

After greeting the team and welcoming them to Uganda our first clinic was for the children at Foodstep Orphanage who were treated and received their 6 monthly fluoride treatment.  This project has proved the efficacy of a fluoride programme and we only had to do 5 fillings and 3 extractions out of 82 patients.

On Saturday we were hosted by Joy Uganda – a project for people with disabilities.
When we arrived, there were many patients waiting under the cover of tents.  It was a very hot day and a very busy one.  We agreed that we would treat 130 patients but the rest were unfortunately sent away. Then another load of patients arrived – one lady only had 6 teeth!
The clinic ran amazingly well at the end of the day 152 patients were treated.  

On Sunday the group went ziplining and on a nature walk to see Griffin Falls.  We also had some fun negotiating prices with boda (motorbike taxi) drivers.
The next day we went to a nursery and secondary school and we treated some of the community to – 169 people were seen that day including one girl who fainted when she saw the needle.
The clinic on Tuesday was a really nice one.  Emily of Soft Power Education has done a great job of organising her projects.  We treated the nursery children who performed some songs for us and were simply delightful.  Then the community came and after lunch some special needs children visited too.  Most were deaf and some had Downs Syndrome.  Some of them danced for us and kept us entertained.  They captured our hearts and a few tears were shed when they were leaving.  

Walukaba West was the location for Wednesday’s clinic.  It is a large school that has a few special needs children. Most of the children were deaf and so the dentists had to work with sign language interpreters.  It posed a challenge but not one we couldn’t overcome.  All the children were once again exceptionally well behaved.  They poured so much love out to us.
We also treated some children from Obwaagazi School that is for children with special needs.  Some of the children were quite severely disabled, in specially adapted wheelchairs and some just lying on floor.
Some mothers came along with their disabled children and to see the look of pure love radiating from the children to their mothers was something special.
Dentaid trips challenge all our senses, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
On Thursday we went to a nursery school to treat the children and staff and then we drove to Banyolo.  As we arrived there was a huge greeting from the school children but many smaller children were terrified to come out.  This was the first time most of them had seen a white person and were frightened of us.  We did our best to get smiles and a few brave ones approached us eventually.  

Having seen the need yesterday the whole team appreciates what we are here for, to treat the communities that don’t have the access to dentists.

We set up in a couple of classrooms in the village of Isalo and although the numbers were less the need was still huge.  115 patients and 79 of those extractions.  The dentists will have massive biceps in one arm at the end of all this!  It is so sad to see all this decay.
We passed a family washing in one of the fish farm ponds.  The mother was washing clothes; the kids, themselves and the cattle were drinking and urinating all in the same water.  I’ll never moan about having to put the washing machine on again. On our day off we went to Sipi Fall and on a coffee community tour. Then were had two days of clinics at a church in Natamala for community and school children which began with them singing to us. There was also a 24 hour church service and lots of drumming!
The clinic passed quickly with all hands on deck and everyone mucking in with whatever jobs needed doing.  Orthodontists were clearing trays and washing dirty instruments. This team has been amazing!
Nobody wants to go home and the team have already emailed Jacqueline to book for September 2019.  Bring it on!!!!