Holy Family Dental Clinic – Cerca Cavajal
My first trip to Haiti was in 2015. I was so excited about the trip, being a practicing dentist in Richmond, VA I thought of using my dental experience to help people in Cerca Carvajal. After a brief meeting with our Haitian dentist Dr.Tony, I was ready to see patients on the next day. Dr.Tony scheduled patients ahead of time. I was little shocked with the dental clinic condition, maybe I was spoiled by the American dental set up, I practiced four years in India before I came to US. This was nothing compare to US or in India. I highly appreciate the committee members and the parishioners at St. Edward church who spent their time and money behind this dental clinic.
My first patient was handsome teenager. His dream is to join the police department, but he got rejected by the medical examination. He lost four of his upper anterior teeth, due to decay, he doesn’t have enough money to replace his teeth. I know in my clinic in the similar situation we give different options to patients like implant, bridge or partial. I was so moved by his story; I wanted to help the young man. Dr.Tony told me, “Don’t feel bad this is your first patient, he is one of the better patients we have for today”. Being a charity clinic we mainly perform cleaning, extractions and Fluoride applications. I saw many patients that day and the following days. I couldn’t do much except extractions, exam and cleaning.
When I left Haiti, I was not very happy, because I wanted to help the people but due to lots of limitation at the clinic I couldn’t do much. On the way back I stopped by at a dental dealer -at Port Au Prince, Dr.Tony was with me. I know we do not have any dental fund; we get some from our medical committee. When I came back to my office I always felt some uneasiness seeing all the condition of the current dental clinic at Haiti. I decided to buy a new dental chair; I contacted Dr.Tony and bought a new dental chair at the clinic. I was so excited about the new set up, Dr.Tony sent many pictures of the chair.
About four months later one fine day I got a message from Dr.Tony and Fr.KeKe, that there was a fire in the dental clinic and the new dental chair got damaged badly. My heart skipped one beat; I was so disappointed about the news. It was so hard for me to continue with my patients on that day. I wouldn’t have been this sad if the same thing had happened to one of my dental chairs. I asked Dr.Tony to check with the warranty but it is much different than in US. The bottom line we lost half of the dental chair, they are still using it as a chair but none of the other features are working. Later they figured it out that they were some shot circuit or some electrical problem was the cause for the fire.
I went back to Haiti in 2016 and in 2018 also, apart from exam, extraction, cleaning and fluoride applications I couldn’t do much. I am hoping one day we will have a decent dental clinic in Haiti, with reasonable amount of materials and equipment. They are God’s children too, they too deserve the best. I know there are lots of works to be done. Our clinic is the one and the only dental clinic in the entire town of Cerca Carvajal with the population of about 40,000 people. I believe the almighty lord will show us some way to improve the condition of the dental clinic. I love going to Haiti, all the people are very humble, loving and simple.