Stories of Hope: Peru
written by Dr. Erin Connally, MedSend Dentist serving in Peru
A dentist without anesthetic is nobody’s idea of a good time. Who would want to have a root canal or tooth extracted without being numb?! You can imagine my panic when, after noticing that I had missed 7 calls from the Diospi Suyana dental clinic, I called them back to find out that the clinic had run out of anesthetic.
Not just the clinic, but the whole country.
We were informed that Peru has stopped the sale of dental anesthetic for an unknown time period.
In God’s providence, when I missed those 7 frantic calls, I happened to be working with a large dental team from the USA in a Quechua community. The Footbridge dental team had come to provide dental care to over 200 people in two communities. Like many of the places we work, the Quechua people in
these two towns have overwhelming dental needs and the team was able to help meet them.
But the team left us another gift: boxes of unused dental anesthetic. Please pray with us that Peru resumes the sale of anesthetic soon so that we, and all of the dentists in Peru, can continue treating patients.
I can’t find the words to thank you…
How would you tell someone you appreciated them if you couldn’t say thank you? In our Quechua language, no word exists for “thank you,” so people have to be creative to show their appreciation. A common way is to ask for more of whatever was received. So, if you were offered a delicious meal and wanted to say thanks, you’d say, “More please, give me the whole pot!” The same applies for our recent distribution of solar-powered Quechua audio Bible devices.
In March and April, my team from AIDIA and I focused a lot of effort on choosing villages with high rates of illiteracy where people were the most likely to listen to the audio devices regularly and share them with their neighbors. We then did trainings in the villages on how to use the audio devices, and charged a small deposit for each device.
The response was overwhelming.
People hiked in from remote villages for these trainings, all happy and willing to learn all they could about the device and make sure they could take it to their village to share God’s word in Quechua with their neighbors. And of course they all thanked us in classic Quechua style, “You have not brought enough, many of our brothers and sisters in our village still need this device. Please bring more next time.”
Exhausted from the 5-hour drive over rough mountain roads, we pulled into the village of Raccaraccay and immediately looked for the house that would host our dental and medical clinic. We needed to find a safe place to put the expensive dental equipment. A friendly family greeted us and showed us into
their home. We eagerly got to work setting up the clinic.
By the time the rest of our team arrived, the equipment was all set up. They told us that we were in the wrong house. But we had watched as person after person brought blankets for our team to sleep
on, so we insisted that we must be in the right place.
We soon realized what the confusion was about. This family was not part of the church. The dental clinics use the electricity, water, time, and food of the host. For that reason, if we work in someone’s home, it is typically a church member.
The fact that this family had offered to open their home to us indicated a level of trust in us and the local church that is very uncommon in rural communities where the Quechua people have a history of being taken advantage of by outsiders.
We did not take their generosity lightly. We pray that they were also blessed by the experience and will seek Christ through the small church in their community.
Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.
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