Nepal Day 1
Part 2 of our KIDS trip started today as we began assessing teeth at two different schools.
It’s been a few years since Bob and Purobi (the founders of Kids International Dental Services) were last here. And it seems that their original conclusion is proving true - the Nepalese children have good teeth.
With the help of a local volunteer, Anarika, we visited a private school with children ages 4 through 6. Most had excellent teeth.
Barbara and Purobi did an awesome oral hygiene presentation. Some of the children spoke English, but for those that didn’t, Anarika provided translation.
Bob and I followed up with visual exams of the teeth, letting the teacher know which children needed dental follow up.
And finally, Bernie, Eli and Jamie applied varnish to those that needed it.
We all had a terrific laugh when two of the children spoke up. One told us that his father drinks too much Coca Cola and another volunteered that their father doesn’t brush before bed.
Our second school was a large public school with children ranging in age from 8 years to 16. Here too, with few exceptions, the teeth were terrific.
Candy is available in Kathmandu, but the children seem to eat an overall healthy diet. They also seemed to have reasonably good knowledge of oral hygiene.
The school itself was in the process of being rebuilt after a five story section collapsed in the 2015 earthquake. Fortunately the quake occurred on a Saturday and no students were injured.
Kathmandu is a very crowded city with dusty streets, little ‘hole in the wall’ stores, tiny restaurants, and very friendly people.
On our flight in we able to catch a glimpse of Everest (see below), and when we’ve had a free moment we’ve stopped in to see some of the Buddhist and Hindu temples.
Nepalese food is a lot like Indian food, and so far it’s been great. Purobi has been an amazing guide teaching us about the culture and food.
Tomorrow we hope to visit a very poor section of town and provide education, preventative, and assessment services.
Today we set out to visit some of the poorer sections of the city.
Our first stop was an orphanage for boys. We were able to educate, varnish and examine 50 children. And, as we have seen before, most children had very good teeth. We let the headmaster know about the children with bad teeth though I fear nothing will come of it.
Over the past couple of days we have heard that the poorest area of the city is referred to as “under the bridge.” Though our driver was hesitant to bring us there, our relentless insistence forced him to relent.
Though poor, the area was safe and filled with children. It was chaotic and impossible to provide oral hygiene instruction. But the children welcomed our gift of toothbrushes and surprisingly lined up to receive fluoride varnish.
Some of the kids exhibited a bit of entrepreneurship, and hid their brushes, getting a second and possibly a third brush. And, as if to add insult to injury, one boy was selling his brushes to unsuspecting children. It was more comical than corrupt.
And so, our dental trip came to an end. Nepal doesn’t require a full dental team, but we were able to do some good here anyway.
Many thanks to our leaders, Purobi and Bob, for letting us join them on this journey and providing us with inspiration and humor. And to our new friend, Anarika, who guided us through Nepal with a smile and a great attitude.
And, of course, thanks to Barbara, Bernie, and Eli for all their hard work and for being such amiable travel companions to Jamie and I.