Los Cacaos, Haiti Dental Mission
February 14-24, 2019
We had a wonderful mission experience providing dental services for a second year in Haiti. This year we were fortunate to have about half of last year’s dental team return for a second mission. This included myself, Dr. Paul Feit, and Dental Assistant MaryJo Dempsey and her husband, Kevin, who served as our handyman. Joining us as lay volunteers were Haiti Mission veterans Karen and Jerry Rickert, Steve Schneider and Spanish translator, Julie Vargas. There were four newcomers to the mission team, including Dr. Scott Zak and Dental Hygienist, Alisen Bouril, and Ann Hansen and Jillian Feit who performed superbly as first-time dental assistants and showed a great deal of empathy and perseverance.
Back home we felt the love and prayerful support from family and friends and from the teams at Two Rivers Family Dental, Dentistry by Design in Sturgeon Bay and Algoma and Shoreline Dental in Manitowoc. Thank you to all of you who helped with the logistics, planning, and fundraising.
The needs of the people in this region of Haiti are overwhelming, and at times we wondered if we are making any significant impact. But we only need to look at their faces to know we are. Planning is already begun for a return mission in 2020.
In reporting to you, our supporters, I would be remiss to ignore the serious unrest in Haiti that broke out shortly before our trip and continues today. On the day we arrived for our mission, the US Department of State declared Haiti a “Level 4 Do Not Travel” alert due to crime and civil unrest. Most businesses and schools were closed and there was and continues to be a severe shortage of gas, food, and water. Fortunately, the region we served is so remote and poor, there was no trouble or interference with our dental mission. We stayed in the town of Pedro Santana in the Dominican Republic and were escorted to and from the agricultural center in Los Cacaos, Haiti daily by truck. Please pray for Haiti and its people.
A visit to a local Grade School
We were fortunate to have had Ann, Kevin and Karen other members of our team visit the public primary school in the village of Los Cacaos. Not all children in Haiti get to attend school. Those who do must wear a uniform and attend school for a half day. Students were divided into three different grade levels and the youngest sat 3-4 at a desk. The conditions were crowded, as pictured in the middle level class at right, and there were few supplies, but our team found them to active enthusiastic learners with dedicated teachers. Although Haitians speak Creole, the students were reciting and writing language lessons in French. Some Spanish is being taught given the proximity to the border with the Dominican Republic.
Pictured below is the dedicated teacher happy to share his experiences and determined to help educate the next generation of Haitian children. Ann interviewed this 1st grade teacher and learned that he grew up in this area, went to college and is back in his hometown with 20 years of experience. A teacher herself, Ann concluded the interview by saying, “thank you for being a teacher, and bless your heart.”
Mission Highlights 2019
In past 2 years, we have mainly done very basic treatment aimed at relieving pain and treating infection. Our goal is to eventually provide more complete dental services (exams, cleanings, restoration, extractions, root canals) for residents in the area as their level of health improves. This year we began seeing more patients from outlying villages- providing the same services we had offered to the residents of Los Cacaos in the past. It was rewarding to see residents of villages as far away as Velo, Kazoom, Los Karete, Los Botatos, El Korte and Karat Bonita. Sister Lydia was helpful in going out to these communities to assess their need prior to our arrival. Our new patients were very appreciative of our dental services and our mission is to expand our outreach to the rural areas, if possible. It is in the plan for next year to purchase portable, self-contained dental equipment so that we can readily provide services to those who have trouble reaching our facility in Los Cacaos.
Over the past two years our dental teams provided a great number of services, our primary mission was to relieve pain and suffering from active dental disease.
|February 2018||February 2019||Totals|
*Silver Diamine Fluoride is a new service started in 2019.
We have been hesitant to state the estimated dollar amount of our services. However, fund raising professionals tell us that we should. We estimate in our first two missions we have provided over $300,000 in donated services in today's US dollars! Of course, we are proud of this number and it reflects the enormous amount of work that has gone into the Los Cacaos Dental Outreach. This number would not be possible without support from Sister Maria, our wonderful missionary volunteers, monetary and supply donations and of course, your encouragement and prayer.
To help us continue our work, please consider a tax deductible
donation through the Green Bay Arch Diocese.
Donations can be made to:
1509 19th Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
All donations are tax deductible with receipts issued through Sister Maria Missions and the Green Bay Catholic Diocese. Please feel free to contact us personally for more information or with any questions about volunteering, donations, or our work in Haiti.