February 11, 2003 - Blue Springs Examiner: Namibia PCV Robert Hite writes about one of life's luxuries: a toothbrush

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: 02 February 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: February 11, 2003 - Blue Springs Examiner: Namibia PCV Robert Hite writes about one of life's luxuries: a toothbrush

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 1:59 am: Edit Post

Namibia PCV Robert Hite writes about one of life's luxuries: a toothbrush

Read and comment on this story from the Blue Springs Examiner by Namibia PCV Robert Hite as he writes about one of life's luxuries: a toothbrush at:

One of life's luxuries: a toothbrush*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

One of life's luxuries: a toothbrush

Robert Hite

Special to The Examiner

Editor's note: Former Examiner reporter Robert Hite has been in Namibia, in southwest Africa, since August as a Peace Corps volunteer. He is sending periodic dispatches about his experiences there.

A toothbrush may not seem significant to anyone reading this article in Eastern Jackson County.

When I got 100 of them and 48 packages of mint-flavored dental floss donated by Johnson & Johnson's office in South Africa, it was a big deal. Many students at Nossob Primary School in Witvlei, Namibia, where I am serving as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, do not have toothbrushes. Some 12-year-old students told me they have never had one. Those who do have brushes that are frayed and probably a year or two old. It makes me wonder if any of them have ever seen a dentist. Judging by the yellow-stained smiles they give me when they talk to me, the number is probably few.

The excitement was mixed with difficulty of deciding which 100 of the 440 students would get a brush. The youngest students were eliminated because they still have their baby teeth, might lose the brush and most likely are not self-disciplined enough to use it. They might not understand why they need to use it either.

The teachers and I decided to select those who were the most needy, either financially or in terms of oral health. Each teacher made a list and we gave them out. I had to demonstrate how to use a brush to many of the students ­ brush slowly, get the upper and lower rows of teeth and don't forget to brush on the back sides.

Handing out the dental floss was not as orderly. I don't know which students got the floss and so have not demonstrated how to use it. Luckily, written instructions with a step-by-step diagram of how to use the floss was on the back of the package.

Hopefully, the students will get into the habit of brushing and flossing. I hope they do, so their teeth do not fall out.

Namibians tap water is chlorinated and that helps, but I still see a lot of people who could benefit from a visit to the dentist.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Namibia; PCVs in the Field - Namibia; Special Interests - Dentistry; Humor



By Gina Sifers on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 3:21 pm: Edit Post

Can someone please send me Robert Hite's, (from the Peace Corp), address in Nambia, Africa? The Cameron United Methodist Church has over 300 writing pens to send him to give to the children there. If you can not give me the address can you direct me to someone that can? My email address is united@cameron.net. Thank you for your help. Youth and Children's Ministries, Gina Sifers

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