I’m back

March 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Buck @ 5:09 pm

Well it’s taken me a week or so to get back to normal, but my Guatemala hangover is over now. While things are still fresh in my head, I wanted to post some of my experiences and lessons learned. First, I would like to thank Dr. Byron Henry, his wife, Stacy, and all my new Free to Smile friends for making it such a fun and productive trip. Just a brief synopsis of what we did. Both a dental and surgery team went on the trip, about 30 of us all together. Both teams went to the surgery center the first two days where we triaged the cleft lip/palate kids to make sure they were healthy enough for surgery. Then the dental team went out the next four days to some of the villages in the mountains to do extractions and fillings (even a handful of cleanings). Then the last day we came back together and did some relaxing and sightseeing (most of the sightseeing for me was about 400ft up on a zip line…awesome!)
The Guatamalans were very appreciative that we were there. And I could go on about the several hundred teeth that the dental team took out. And many said that we have changed their lives for the better and those experiences I had with those people were amazing. But I want to talk a little about the cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries. Those parents who kids had their cleft deformities fixed were the most amazed and appreciative. In the States, cleft lips and palates are things that are corrected within the first couple months of life, but in Guatemala, kids might not get those deformities fixed until much later in life. Speech problems, chewing difficulties, and negative social stigma can occur through the years. Some folks that live in the remote areas of Guatemala feel these kids are possessed by bad spirits or demons. So when the surgeons use their skills to correct these clefts, it really is an amazing thing. I posted a few photos here and on our Facebook page (search Distinctive Smiles of Dublin). You may be surprised to see the extent of the deformity.

This is why this work that Free to Smile is doing is so important. If you or anyone you know wants to help out with donations to even go on one of these trips, please let me know. It really is a great adventure!