During the first trip to Guatemala in 2004, Dr. Bailey and his wife, Marge, provided dental services to the poor rural areas with Dentistry With Heart (a dental mission group with members primarily from the Vancouver area). That was our first experience with attempting to set up dental equipment in areas that had only generators for electricity and often no continual water supply. What we found in dental health area was appalling!
In all the communities, 50% of children suffered from periodontal problems. Examinations of over 600 Guatemalan children with toothaches reveal that 98% suffered from cavities. In an attempt to remedy the pain, many children have had their teeth removed completely by their families; there was no other alternative in communities that lack access to oral health care facilities, neither curative nor preventative. Guatemala has the highest rates of dental cavities in the western hemisphere!
It was then that Dr. Bailey began working with Dental Organizations provincially and in B.C. to establish the small dental clinic at Fe Viva in Chiquimulilla.
Fe Viva is a secure, monitored compound that also houses the Rescue Home / Orphanage, Casa Esperanza. We are able to service the children and staff there annually as well as numerous families in the surrounding area. Because the oral health conditions are so much worse in Guatemala, the patients are much more grateful when they receive dental care. So many people from Kindersley and area have traveled to this community with us to provide sewing classes, mechanical services, English language training, construction of homes and so on. Medical personnel have joined on some of the trips to instruct the people on sanitation and general health education as well as working with medical doctors to run local medical clinics. To see such a deep appreciation for what we do has revitalized the passion of anyone who have traveled with us to this land.
Thank you to many of our local patients for traveling with us and /or sending supplies, toys and gifts for the children of Guatemala!