Monday, March 18, 2013


Early in the morning last Monday, up in the mountains of an island off mainland Haiti, a couple of dentists and their staff journeyed along the remote and dangerous roads to get to a village hidden from the world. A village that has never ever had a doctor or dentist to come and show any interest in them.  They were waiting for us, these precious people of Makochon, bringing with them the awful caries and abscesses they had been living with for so long.

Last Monday, before even the first patient was invited into that little church-turned-dental clinic, we gathered in a circle. With our nervous and sweating hands clasped, we dedicated this day, this week to the Lord, for had it not been God Who had called us here in the first place?

Why else would one leave the comforts and familiarities of home: running and hot water, spiderless bedrooms, and Applebees?  Why risk bumpy-road-back-spasms? Why put up with daily PB&J sandwiches when back home we could run down the road for a five..... five dollar..... five dollar foot long? Why put up with rats and roaches and ankle sprains (we experienced them all) if it weren't that something much bigger were at stake?

Is pulling a few hundred teeth really worth all the time and expense and inconvenience?

I suppose the answer depends on whom you ask. Some might argue that traveling a couple thousand miles to pull teeth isn't that wise a use of resources, that other investments would yield higher return. But if you asked the 50-some year old man who, in howling pain, walked nine miles to get to us, the answer would be probably be yes, it's worth it.

I'm not a dentist, so I could not be much help chair-side. This allowed me the perspective of standing back and taking things in. What a view! Standing back, I was able to witness a miracle: modern dentistry being delivered high in the mountains to a village that has experienced neither electricity nor running water. A remarkable sight.  You ask me if a mountain really can be moved and I would have to tell you yes. Yes! And I saw it with my own eyes last week.

I suppose being on the receiving end of a miracle carries its own bit of risk, too, and might not exactly be for the faint-of-heart. You could see it in those wide-eyed, next-in-line kids watching the dentists dive in after putrid molars like pelicans diving for sea bass. Plenty frightened over their upcoming miracle, many of them needed a healthy dose of comforting to go along with their Novacaine.

Starfysh's new remote mobile dental unit was inaugurated with little fanfare, uncaptured by Google Earth satellites searching for landmarks, not heavenmarks. But I saw it, and a few others. And I'm sure that God, from His much grander vantage point, saw it too.

"Heavenmarks." Not GPS so much as HPS. Coordinates where God comes down and does His thing.

No comments: