Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Four: Team Impact In San Francisco Sales

As the FTC Canada Medical Team opens up for a new day, there is a transformation of sorts. Small school rooms become home for teams of doctors working right alongside each other. Pharmacy sets up a wall of blue boxes holding creams and pills. Dental has already been on site an hour before we have arrived. Their “home” today is a very small school room adjacent to a demolished school hall. The hall was destroyed by a hail of volcanic ash and rock.

San Francisco Sales is just under the rim of an active volcano. The last active eruption left a thick layer of black ash everywhere. Some buildings were pelted with hot rock that simply seared its way through metal roofs. As I noted, entire buildings were destroyed by more accurate missiles launched from above.

Perhaps it is odd, but FTC Canada shipped a large quantity of high-quality boots and shoes to Gu. The boots, in particular, are a true asset for the men and women that make their living in the fields or need to travel long distances across dusty roads – and when they aren’t dusty they are muddy.

Distribution is in a very small room today – virtually a hole in the wall. In this room Janice and her team organize a vast array of great products. There are shoes and sandals, pants and shorts, shirts and winter jackets. In addition to this there are toys and really cute knitted dolls that were made by a knitting club in Cambridge, ON. Then there is very healthy food products in particular a bag of soup mix from the Gleaners. This soup bag can make 30 bowls of delicious soup.

Like Pharmacy, Distribution experiences an out-pouring of gratefulness from the people here. They may already have a bag full of pharmaceuticals, now they are about to get an abundance of supplies. As one boy looked longingly at his new soccer ball, a few of us commented that it was a lot like Christmas.

There is little access to medical care in this community. Young and old are making their way through the clinic. Some are hoping for a caring doctor to help them feel better. They get that, as caring doctors are all we have and pharmacy has a tremendous supply of medicines.

They get unexpected care perhaps through a new set of reading glasses; they get a surprise with access to great products at distribution. Even more surprising are the transformations in dentistry.

Today I filmed a complete tooth reconstruction – actually two front teeth. The young girl had what amounted to a bullet-hole size section of missing tooth material! I watched as the area was prepped drilled back to the point that there was virtually nothing left (removing excess rot). Dr. Jack Cottrell then performed a root canal, created a base for the new teeth to be reconstructed. Think rebar and concrete as it appeared to be like that.

What happened next was nothing short of spectacular. This young girl’s smile was transformed from a rotting hole, to something she would be proud of; she would look in the mirror and see a very beautiful set of teeth that would complement her pretty face. She would be very proud; Dr Jack was already on to the next patient (long line-ups) perhaps getting prepared to transform yet another smile.

Dr. Rick Caldwell talks with assistant Iris Renderos

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