Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Guatemala Dental Clinic is located in Guatemala City in Zone 2. It is a wonderful modern facility conceived and carried out by the hard work of many dedicated people. Elder and Sister Bawden began the project when they were here as welfare missionaries. Dr. Wayne and Suzanne Tomkinson were here on the ground as the first missionaries called to staff the clinic as the clinic took shape. The Academy of LDS Dentists helps with support for the clinic, donation of supplies and encouragement of volunteers. It is staffed by full-time missionaries called by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.
The first full-time missionaries called were Dr. Wayne and Suzanne Tomkinson at the end of 2009. They were joined by Dr. Paul and Joanne Fillmore in March of 2010. When the Tomkinson's left, Dr. Ron and Judy Tobler were called. Dr.Richard and LeeAnn Call replaced the Fillmores in August of 2011, Dr. Richard and Annalee Johnson will be replacing the Toblers in November.Five Dental Chairs and the Patio waiting area
Dr. Luis Contreras and his wife, Dr. Wayne and Suzanne Tomkinson and Dr. Paul and Joanne Fillmore. Dr. Contreras is a local dentist and bishop who gave many hours of service to Dr. Tomkinson and Dr. Fillmore in moving through the legal and government paper work necessary to get the clinic established.
Brother Albert was the contractor on the job and while he worked Sister Albert created and put together this beautiful Mosaic mural, as well as a second mosaic. Both art works are symbolic testimonies of the love they both poured into creating this clinic.
There are over 300 boys at the Mi Casa facility in the center of the city and 60 girls next door to the dental clinic. They are wonderful patients! Almost all of them are now on a 6 month recall. In addition, we have added 4 more orphanages, with another 125 children who have been without care starting in November of 2011. This latest group will bring our total number of children under care to nearly 1,000 children.
Every 3 weeks we screen the new MTC missionaries, identifying those that have received inadequate care or have problems that will adversely effect their missions.
For two weeks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings we complete any work they need to have finished before they leave the MTC for their assignments, saving significant future pain, financial burdens, and lost missionary service time.
We also take care of future missionaries who lack the resources to complete their dental care in order to serve missions. When there are a large number coming from a stake outside the city, we sometimes take our x-ray unit and go to them to diagnose before we have them come into the clinic so we will know what to expect when they come and can schedule more effectively.
When we have a large group come in, we will try to schedule them on a Friday or Saturday when we have volunteers from the states. Most of them need extensive restorative and surgical care and with 3 or 4 volunteers it is an all day job.
We also take care of missionaries who are currently serving throughout Guatemala and have emergent dental needs.
In July we began working with 5th year dental students from the Galvez School of Dentistry. This is generally where the mi casa children received dental care before we came. It has been a great experience to work with these students. Volunteers with special skills have been able to demonstrate procedures and teach students.
Dental students and volunteers can fill the clinic.
Elder Clarke came out to greet Dr. Gordon Christensen and his group when they came to see the Clinic.
In January, Bishop Burton and his wife made a visit to the clinic with Elder and Sister Martino. With them are Elder and Sister Tobler and Elder and Sister Fillmore.
If you have questions or wish to volunteer or donate supplies, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each new missionary couple will have an exciting role to fill because the mission will be different for each couple and have different opportunities as we progress. Because we have been able to get all of the children from mi casa on a 6 month recall, there is an opportunity to reach out in other areas of dental education and care. We will soon begin to add another orphanage to the clinic.