Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Feliz Cumpleaños ( a mis dientes)

Since my last post my birthday did pass on the 8th.  For my 23rd birthday (I feel old) a group of us went out for Cuban food and mojitos!  This also marked the last night I saw former fellow volunteer Kelsey, who recently finished her service.  I look forward to seeing her again soon in New York City on my visit home, as she starts at Columbia this fall.  She better be wearing her traje!
 Although my first birthday abroad did pass, the 'happy birthday' title is in reference to a recent dental health workshop we had with one of the schools on our Cooperative, we including my first visitor Luis and my sitemate Kamille.  Health studies have found that upwards of 60 percent of Guatemalan children in the highlands experience severe dental caries, or cavities and tooth decay.  Monetary priorities do come into play in regards to the importance of dental health.  The majority of the parents of the children here on the Co-op make 30q per day, less than the cost of a single tube of toothpaste.  In a culture in which if you ask for an agua (water) it is understood that you want a soda unless clarified as 'agua pura',  it is a difficult task to tackle.  Uncertainty if toothpaste will be able to be refilled upon use is also an issue.

Luis organized a collection of floss, toothbrushes, and toothpaste at his university.  He ended up bringing down upwards of 100 brushes and toothpastes.  Likewise, a friend of Kamilles donated brushes and tablets that indicate plaque on the teeth by dying it purple.  The workshop included instructional handouts, brushing practice on soda soaked eggs, a plaque indicating example/ challenge for the coming weeks, a discussion on healthy habits and even a trial session in which the students practiced brushing.  The students sang Happy Birthday twice, once  for the top and bottom level of their teeth respectively, to  better time their brushing duration.  Kamille and I will return next week to check up on the students, administer plaque tablet tests and introduce flossing into the mix ( knock on wood there isn't too much blood!).  Knowledge is power and hopefully the students took away the negative effect sugary foods and soda have on their teeth and that brushing with solely water is better than not brushing at all.  We shall see next week when we see who the winner is in the least plaque contest!  One brush at a time....


  1. great pictures and a great initiative!!

  2. I LOVE this. I think my favorite photo is the one of Evan brushing with the kiddies :)

  3. i didn't know what to do after they brushed so i told them to wipe on their sleeves! haha, my bad?

    thanks ev. super attractive picture of me with the plaque tablet which by the way, was NOT as tasty as i expect it to be. the kids were all adorable but my favorite is still daaahviddd. el era tan chulo!

    i'm still getting toothbrush donations at work! definitely going to have to schedule another taller or workshop.

    boot pic = <3
    i want a pair.