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Friday, August 8, 2014

Our Trip Coming to a Close

Our trip has wound down to its end.  We spent about 2.5 weeks here at the clinic in the Maasai Mara.  During our time here I saw just over 100 patients and extracted just shy of 100 teeth.  As I have mentioned before there is no preventative care here, therefore the high number of teeth needing extractions.  They basically wait until the tooth has decayed so far that there are limited options and usually an extraction is necessary.
As we left the clinic for the long bumpy drive back to Nairobi we encountered this vehicle which had a tie rod go out as it attempted to cross this narrow bridge.  We luckily did not meet the same fate.  All of the passengers and driver were ok.

As we stopped to check on the vehicle crash all of these school children came to us looking for sweets.  We gave them toothbrushes instead.

Some friends saying good bye as we drove by.

Enjoying some roof top driving.

Some of our last patients.

The boys preparing our Wildebeest skull to hang on the clinic tree.

We as a family were blessed to be able serve our fellow mankind here in Africa and were very grateful for their kindness and hospitality to us.  They were extremely thankful for our service and we were honored to be able to serve.

Not only did we want to be able to serve others that would never have access to care otherwise, but we also wanted our boys to be exposed to how a good portion of the world lives outside the luxuries and conveniences of the first world.  Not only do the locals survive without television, video games, refrigerators and wash machines.  They actually seem to enjoy their lives and relish in the simplicity.  I think it was an enlightening experience for my boys and will make them better human beings, ready to help others in need, as they grow older.
I want to thank all of those that followed our trip on the blog.  We look forward to our return to the U.S. and seeing our family, friends, fellow co-workers, and patients at Twain Harte Family Dental Care.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Visit to a Local Village

Today after seeing patients in the clinic we visited a local village.  They gave us the full tour.  The Maasai are semi nomadic people so there structures are not built to be forever.  From what I gathered the women are the ones that do all of the heavy lifting, they build the houses, clean out the goat pens, etc.

These guys made fire with this stick system in about 2 minutes.

I'm not sure if I could do it in 2 days.

The boys joined in on the ceremonial "jumping" dance.  Apparently the highest jumper gets the ladies.

The ladies had their dance as well.

It was very rhythmic and involved a shoulder shake.

This is where they live.  We toured the inside.  It has a stick frame with cow's hide and mud.

There is no power out here but they do have little solar charges because believe it or not it seems everyone has a cell phone.

This is inside their dwelling.  In the middle there is a fire pit.  A bed lies on either side of the fire pit.

This is used to store milk and blood is what this guy told us.

Up on the wall just behind the fire pit is where they store a few dishes and that small hole (window) is for the smoke to escape the fire pit.

It is tight quarters for sure.

This is inside their goat pen.  They stack sticks to create a pen.  This is to keep the goats from being eaten by lions at night.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Clinic Team, Maasai Warriors, and Some Interesting Animals

Typical day working in the clinic.  Patients come from near and far.  Some walk minutes, some walk hours, and others drive hours.  There is not much access to care here.

From left to right.  This is the clinic staff.  Eunice #1, Eunice #2, Dr. Grossman, William.  The two Eunice's are the dental assistants and William is the clinic manager.  The clinic is soon to lose both of the Eunice's by the end of the year. William says it is very hard to employ young women as they get married and then their husbands do not want them to work.  He is starting the process of looking for new candidates but it is hard to find people that speak Swahili, Maasai, and English and also fit the bill to be a dental assistant.

These Maasai did a ceremonial dance for us.

These warriors perform the adumu, or aigus, sometimes referred as “the jumping dance” by non-Maasai. (both adumu and aigus are Maa verbs meaning “to jump” with adumu meaning “To jump up and down in a dance”.
Warriors are well known for, and often photographed during, this competitive jumping. A circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time will enter the center to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture, never letting their heels touch the ground. Members of the group may raise the pitch of their voices based on the height of the jump.

While viewing some game over the weekend this wild Cheetah jumped on top of our vehicle. and stayed there for about 10-15 minutes.  We braved a few pictures, very slowly sticking our heads through the sun roof.

This Jackal cleaning up a kill.

As he walked away the vultures  who were on the side lines watching jumped in.

Caught this male lion walking along a rocky outcropping.  They usually are sleeping up to 20 hours a day.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Visit to a School

Visited this primary school after seeing patients in the clinic all day.

It is a public school of about 820 children and 20 teachers.

This group of kids gathered together in a class room and I gave them a presentation on oral hygiene and answered questions they had about dentistry.

They really liked the short animations of dental procedures I showed them on my iPad.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cultural Body Modifications of the Maasai

The Maasai believe that canine that stick out in front of their other teeth bring very bad luck to the whole tribe. 

If we don't take them out in the clinic when they request it then an elder in their tribe will do it with no anesthetic and a non sterile knife.

Maasai, for cultural reasons, have their two lower central incisors removed.  This was a patient that already had his removed.  However on occasion we have seen patients who have requested we remove the incisors for them.  Again if it isn't done here it will be done by the tribe elder.
The piercing and stretching of earlobes is common among the Maasai. Various materials have been used to both pierce and stretch the lobes, including thorns for piercing, twigs, bundles of twigs, stones, the cross section of elephant tusks and empty film canisters.

A lot of the time they tie them in knots.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Visiting the Local Market

William took us to the local market which occurs every Monday evening.  This is where you can get produce and other basics.  He said it only occurs once a week and is the only real source for people to buy food.  The closest town is Narok which is several hours away if you have a vehicle.  If not, which is the case for most people, it is not an option. 

As you can see people converge from all of the different villages scattered around to get supplies.

This was the avacado and pineapple section.  William did the negotiating for us.  We were the only foreigners there.  He said if we tried to negotiate we would get taken advantage of.

We also got some onions, cabbage, and carrots.  Everything you eat here needs to be cooked in order to assure the microbes are all killed.  No raw carrots.  We Americans generally have weaker stomachs than the locals.  As you can see everything is sold from the ground and nothing is sanitary.

My boys trying to look inconspicuous.

This is kind of like a bus.  People load into the back of the truck and get dropped off at the market and then are brought back to their village afterwards.

There are even some shoes and clothes.

Lots of moms with babies in tote.

More people being dropped off by the trucks to get supplies.

Some people have motorcycles and load up their food on that.  Judging by the amount of food this guy is buying and the fact that he has a motorcycle he probably has a large family with multiple wives.  Polygamy is practiced here, my understanding is that basically the wealthier you are the more wives you have.

Others have a bag that they carry all of their food in.