On August 30 -31 2013, Acción Médica Cristiana (AMC) organized the first initial outreach for the Smiles for Everyone Foundation (SFEF) Dental Outpost at the orphanage Hogar de Fe in the community of Los Brasilles (20 minutes outside of Managua). Six volunteer dentists worked for a total of about 21 hours, served 79 patients (the majority being orphans), and performed 416 procedures.
The first day started slowly with the long process of setting up instruments, portable dental units, dental chairs, compressors and fans, while many of the youngest children who live in Hogar de Fe waited patiently.
Before starting with consultations, Dr. Nayanci Cano Reyes shared a fun song with the youngest children about dental hygiene and then demonstrated how to correctly brush one’s teeth. The kids proudly held on to their new toothbrushes and toothpaste, as they got back in line to be attended to by a dentist, many for the first time in their lives.
Each of the Nicaraguan dentists, who are all female, poured their time and energy into cleaning, extracting, or performing fillings on the teeth of each child and a few of the staff members from Hogar de Fe. This outreach, which is possible through the funds and resources from the Smiles for Everyone Foundation, is just the first of many with which they will volunteer through the partnership of Acción Médica Cristiana.
AMC will also use funds from SFEF within their project sites to support sustainable dental educational efforts.
Dr. Mandy Mayorga explains why she decided to volunteer her time with the SFEF Nicaragua Dental Outpost, “First, I talked to Dr. Alicia [Reyes] and the enthusiasm she feels for this outreach with Smiles for Everyone motivated me to be a part of this group. “
“I care a lot about helping those who have needs, especially children,” says Dr. Mayorga.
The orphanage Hogar de Fe (Faith Home) was selected as an initial dental outreach spot when the Director of Development and Volunteers for AMC, Dr. Francisco Gutierrez, began to talk to his family about the first dental outreach through the SFEF funds, his son David Gutierrez, who works with Orphan Network, gave him the idea to work at Hogar de Fe.
“Dental health has never been an area of focus for Orphan Network and [I suggested Hogar de Fe] because they have demonstrated great work with the children they serve and they have good living conditions,” says David.
The founders of Hogar de Fe, Rev. Ramiro and Concepcion (Conchita) also started a private Christian school Colegio Cristiana Josue 1:8 and a church, Iglesia Misionera Josue 1:9 , which all benefit the surrounding community of Los Brasilies with it’s 12,000 inhabitants in tremendous ways. Many people from the community attend the church, including different government officals, and many children from the city attend the private Christian school.
Next month Iglesia Misionera Josue 1:9 will celebrate its 34th anniversary after starting within a small room in the house of Pastor Ramiro and Conchita. As for the orphanage, Hogar de Fe started with the founders bringing in one abandoned child into their own home. Today the orphanage is home to 52 children and teenagers. The youngest child, Nahomi, is 19 months old and the oldest, Manuel, is 20 years old.
Pastor Ramiro and Conchita have seven children who are all involved in the ministries surrounding Hogar de Fe, including Isaac Blandon who is the director of the orphanage and Job Blandon who is the director and pastor of the church.
There are many other people involved with these ministries, as well. One of the caregivers, Jasmina del Socorro Rivas, who lives with the 3 to 12 year-old girls, is 20 years old. She also lived in Hogar de Fe as an orphan from the age of 10. Currently, she is studying English at a university in Managua.
“God gave me the opportunity to work here. I received the same love, help, and support when I was young that I am now giving to the girls,” shares Jasmina. “I wake up at 5:05 am with the girls and help them get ready and bathe. I take care of 12 girls. I spend the whole day with them. I feel like they are my daughters.”
During the outreach, many of the other educators, kitchen staff, and even the orphanage’s social worker, put in extra effort and hours in order to help with the dental consults. There was always an adult sitting next to each dental chair ready to give water to a patient, calm someone down, or grab a needed dental tool for the dentists.
“We have an excellent work team,” says Isaac Blandon, Director of Hogar de Fe. “We believe to work in this capacity is to love- a ministry of love. Today is not a work day, but they are still working because they know these dentists will greatly impact the children.”
The dentists volunteering on behalf of Smiles for Everyone Foundation, the logistics led by both Acción Médica Cristiana and Orphan Network and the host site Hogar de Fe, created an ecumenical and successful two days of dental outreach.
“We want to give thanks to the help we received from SFEF & AMC. This is not the first nor the last blessing we will receive from the dental consults,” says Isaac. “This blessing will continue on through our ministries and into our community.”
“Hogar de Fe impacted my life. I love all of those kids and teenagers. It was a motivating an excellent experience. I want to thank all of them because I learned a lot.” Dr. Mandy Mayorga.