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Friday, September 1, 2017

Clinic Update and Final Post

With Gloria is one of the chefs from the Lodge.  (never did learn his name!)  He promised to come see us for the whole month, finally came in on the last day.  Beautiful smile!  All he wanted was his teeth 'washed', he means prophy.  Very happy with the result.
                              You may have noticed, all recent posts have been pictures of the game drives, no mention of the clinic activity.  Actually, since this is such a modern, well-stocked clinic, dental services have been fairly routine and I didn't feel you would be interested in the day-to-day workings of a dental office!

24 clinic days.  Although I am not a numbers man, around 240 patients seen and around 200 teeth extracted and just a few fillings.  A few reflections:

First, as we were promised, the day is very unpredictable.  Maasai in the area are all aware of the clinic’s presence and know that it is open Monday through Friday year-round. No appointments are made, although we did hear that those with mobile phones will call ahead to be certain that the clinic will be open when they are able to arrive.

We have heard that people will travel up to three hours or more to see the dentist.  Many walk, others ride a motorcycle taxi.  Not only Maasai come to the clinic.  Others, many working at the camps and resorts in the area do not wear the typical Maasai sandals and blanket; more western clothes, and do not have the ear jewelry that are typical of the Maasai.

Most have their dentistry done at no charge, although some are charged or there is a negotiation that takes place.  As mentioned before, typically the patients want an extraction.  The tooth has been painful for some time, and the x-ray taken confirms the need for the tooth to be removed. 

You will also notice, not a lot of pictures of my patients. Maasai and Kenyans prefer not to have their pictures taken.  We have honored that.

Mornings are busier than afternoons. An average day is 15 patients, we end the day between 3 and 4.  If we are upstairs waiting for the next patients and look out the window and see the front gate closed.  The clinic is closed!  We change out of our scrubs and enjoy the afternoon.
Dad wanted this little guys crowding corrected.  So we took out his two central incisors!  Normally this is done in the village by an elder with a knife and no anesthesia.  Much better solution at he dental clinic.

Same little guy, here, his two lateral incisors are in cross bite, (behind his lower teeth), so out they come!
Also, mentioned, most procedures are extractions.  Most of them are molars, and most of them are wisdom teeth!  I think most dentists would agree that wisdom teeth are the most challenging to remove due to the anatomy of tooth and location in mouth.  But, that is the way it is, and we deal with it.

Interesting, rarely is there any gratitude expressed.  It is cultural.  It is my job to pull teeth, I have done so, and they walk out.  The few that do know English, however, will frequently express appreciation and maybe a hand shake, otherwise, it's off to the next patient.

To those in the dental community reading this blog, I recommend you consider this 'assignment'.  The dentistry is challenging but you are well-taken care off with a great support staff, very comfortable accommodations and the opportunity to gain weight as you eat next door at the tent resort!

We have made some great friends here, and who knows, we may be back someday!
Gloria and me with Masooi and Dennis.  Masooi on the left is the day watch-warrior, Dennis is all around maintenance guy, custodian and cook.  Great guys!

Here is The Team!
Next to me is Eunice, then Grace and on the end is William.  The gals are the two assistants, William is clinic manager and safari guide.  It was a real honor to be able to work with these people!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Third Game Drive Weekend 5.0

Sunrise on the Mara

Finally, our biggest thrill.  A cheetah kill!!  We had started tracking this cheetah when it was probably 400 yards out through the binoculars.  We slowing started driving closer as it walked, sat, pondered life.  Then, when we were no more than 50 yards away its slow rambling instantly turned into a 60mph run.  She zig-zagged for no more than 50 yards and 4 seconds and she caught a dyk dyk.  A small rabbit sized antelope.

We could only watch as we fumbled for our cameras.  As we got closer, she continue to walk, with the dyk dyk struggling for another 30 seconds then limp.  She continued to walk to find something to 'hide' behind for her mid-morning snack.  What a treat to see this animal in action.  Our gain, the dyk dyk's loss.

Our farewell lunch on the Mara

Third Game Drive Weekend 4.0

Now, on to more lions.  Another nice grouping, but their belly's were full and they were sleeping in the brush.

And this gigantic male giraffe.  He was about 10 feet from us, eating.  We did notice this huge, deep injury on his back.  He must have got a way from the lion.  One could easily stand underneath this giraffe's belly!



These crocsodileswere easily 15-20 feet long.  Enormous!

Finally, we loved these birds on the water buffaloes.  They either sat on their backs for the view and ride, or they were busy eating bugs from the water buffalo's ears and noses.  Very annoying....but appreciated.  

Third Game Drive Weekend 3.0

This may have been our best viewing.  A leopard. Which, by the way completes our seeing the African Big Five.  They are elephant, water buffalo, lion, hippo, and leopard.

We had heard there was a leopard sighting, so we and many other vans and jeeps headed over to this grouping of trees and shrubbery hoping for a glance.  We were only there about 5 minutes when the leopard popped our right in front of us!!  We had front row seats.

Now you can see what leopard's spots do, he is right in the middle of the photo.
Now, so you can catch your breath, more bird pictures......

Not sure what this bird is, it looks like a cross between a duck and a hammer.

African Pea-Hen

This bird is lilac-breasted roller ,Kenya's National Bird.


Third Game Drive Weekend 2.0

As promised, one more elephant picture.  We stumbled on this family both Saturday and Sunday.  All sizes, fun to watch them walk and eat, which they do constantly.

We did watch another 'migration'.  Learned a bit more about it as well.  The migration is north-to-south.  Kenya to Tanzania, but the fording of the river we saw on Saturday was the opposite direction as the fording we saw a couple of weeks ago!   So, go figure.  We were told that wildebeests aren't too bright.....

The zebras got sidetracked below, couldn't get out and went back.

Vans and jeeps need to leave an opening for all the wildebeests and zebras to exit.

Heading out again, except not south.......

Third Game Drive Weekend

William, clinic director and game drive driver, hit it out of the park Saturday.  Lions and Leopards and Cheetah, oh my.........

First, though, a few pictures of  'non-predators'

Mongooses, (Mongeese?)  'flow' into the area behind the clinic, just about every night to check out the trash pile.  'Flow' meaning, about 20-30 come in all together, bounce around a bit, then 'flow' out again, like a flying carpet.

We ran into the Black Rhino again,  still just trudging along.  He is always surrounded by vans, doesn't seem to bother him.
A few things:  This is a typical view of a zebra.  They are always moving away from us. Also, notice there are strips on their tails, finally, either most of the zebras are pregnant, or there is more food on the Mara then we realize.

These bad-boys were always hanging out with the vultures after the carnivore kills.  Storks of some sort.  Also very noisy, and BIG, (probably 3 feet tall)!

More on elephants in the next post, but we'll end with this baby elephant 'practicing' moving his ears back and forth.  Reminded us of Dumbo!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Second Game Drive Weekend 2.0

Continuing with the lion feasting on the wildebeest.

Just to show you that zoom lenses weren't necessary, he was surrounded by safari vans.