December 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: COS - Colombia: COS - Ecuador: Denistry: Vail Daily: Bolivia and Colombia RPCV Jerry Sibley treat teeth of Ecuadorian children

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bolivia: Peace Corps Bolivia : The Peace Corps in Bolivia: December 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: COS - Colombia: COS - Ecuador: Denistry: Vail Daily: Bolivia and Colombia RPCV Jerry Sibley treat teeth of Ecuadorian children

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Bolivia and Colombia RPCV Jerry Sibley treat teeth of Ecuadorian children

Bolivia and Colombia RPCV Jerry Sibley treat teeth of Ecuadorian children

Bolivia and Colombia RPCV Jerry Sibley treat teeth of Ecuadorian children

Rotarians treat teeth of Ecuadorian children

December 1, 2004

For two years the Vail, Eagle Valley Rotary Club has sent a volunteer dental mission to Ecuador to check the teeth of hundreds of schoolchildren. Rotarians have treated and repair teeth filled cavities and taught dental hygiene.

In October 2003 Rotarians Linda Lomax, Jerry Sibley and Dr. Eddie Blender worked in the mountain town of Zaruma, Ecuador.

A few weeks ago, in early October, Sibley returned on a mission to Quito, the capital, where he was joined by a local Vail Rotary Youth Exchange student, Kelley Lemon. They worked in a tent set up in the city.

The children's teeth were in pretty bad shape, as dental care is not affordable for many parents in a country with a 75 percent poverty rate. In fact, many had never seen a dentist.

Each child received a stuffed animal courtesy of local Rotarians and, of course, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Sibley, who was a Peace Corps volunteer and speaks Spanish fluently, said he felt safe even though armed guards were next to the examining tent at the Cruz Roja, or Red Cross compound, where the team did their work.

"The local kids were absolutely wonderful and Rotary Youth Exchange student Kelley Lemon was a great help in assisting and comforting the youngsters during operative procedures," Sibley said.

The dental mission makes works with a local Rotary Club to find area patients who cannot pay for dental treatment. The patients receive between $70,000 and $80,000 worth of dental treatment on each trip.

The Rotary Clubs, here and in South America, along with Rotary International, chip in funds toward the $9,000 needed for airfare, meals and dental equipment. Local Rotary clubs in the South American countries also do their part by helping with the logistics.

"That is the beauty of Rotary. We can contact any Rotary Club anywhere in the world and together arrange to bring better health to those in need," Sibley said. "We rely on the local clubs to get us through customs, as we are bringing in supplies, drugs and medicine."

For the local Rotary clubs in South Americas, the dental service projects are huge. "We become their biggest project of the year," Sibley said.

The American dentists also provide some education in modern techniques, such as the use of anesthesia for children. "They asked us why we were giving the kids anesthesia because the needles could cause pain," he said.

Robert Mintz, Rotary's manager in charge of global travel, has also kept on top of the political situation to be sure each mission is safe for American travelers.

For example, the mission had to be evacuated last year because of political turmoil and Mintz was very much aware that unrest in neighboring Colombia was resulting in a steady stream of refugees into Ecuador.

Still, the local Quito Rotary Club arranged for the team to spend one day treating Colombian refugees.

The refugees' treatment by the American dentists also opened up the eyes of the local Ecuadorians, Mintz said, explaining that some Ecuadorians did not look kindly upon the Colombian refugees.

"But you know what, they are lovely people. People are people and patients are patients," Mintz said.

Vail Colorado

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Vail Daily

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; COS - Colombia; COS - Ecuador; Denistry



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