Our regional manager for Michigan and Illinois, Oscar Gonzalez and his wife Rebekah, have been answering the dental-related prayers of others around the globe through a charity they set up.
Specifically, the Gonzalezs have been helping families in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Central America.
We'll let Oscar describe their work:
Every year or so, we take a trip to Nicaragua and we like to use those trips as a chance to help out several orphanages in Granada. Obek Nicaragua Project is a charity project we started and for which we collect school supplies, books, clothing, toys and monetary donations and deliver them to several orphanages in Granada. For our past trips, donations have enabled us to collect thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of donations per trip. In addition to this, we also like to take advantage of our skills in dentistry by providing free dental care to the children and other needy members of the community. With the generous help of Christ the Healer Organization, which allows us the use of its dental clinics, we have been able to attend to the dental needs of 35-40 patients a day during our previous trips, in two different communities.
Our 2015/2016 trip was an incredible one! Thanks to all donations and support we were able to help many families in need of dental treatment and take a significant step forward in our mission to raise awareness about proper oral health.
We were able not only to provide free dental care to those in need, we were also able to deliver toothbrushes and toothpaste, clothing, school supplies, and toys to the children served by the Mission at Nuestra Señora del Carmen. And all generous monetary donations have enabled us to provide 100lbs of rice, 100lbs of beans, cooking oil and pasta to the Mission on a monthly basis through the end of 2016. Nuestra Señora del Carmen, feeds between 80-120 impoverished children everyday in Granada. The Mission was very thankful for the generous support for this critical service they provide to the community. We also have been able to work with the Centro de Desarrollo Infantil “Nino Jesús de Praga” (Child Jesus of Prague Child Development Center). This center works in one of Granada’s disadvantaged neighborhoods and helps to feed, clothe and educate over one hundred children on a daily basis. With all donations, we were able to provide enough food supplies to help each of these organizations.
We also were able to donate dental supplies to a non-profit dental clinic in Managua, Jubillee’s House. Located in one of the most impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods in the country, called Jorge Dimitrov. Jubillee’s House serves this community offering low or no-cost services for those living in extreme poverty. The medical center Jubilee´s House is a place that functions basically with the help it receives from some churches and organizations from the United States of America. The center offers various medical services at symbolic prices so that the people of low income may receive a worthy medical attention; i.e. dental cleaning costing less than $1.75 US dollars.
One particular story we will always remember. Four-year-old Christopher first came to the clinic accompanied by his mother. When he first reluctantly opened his mouth we were confronted with a small mouth full of decay and infection. Nearly every tiny tooth had some degree of decay. The overall appearance was a black smile. His mother later explained to us how this had caused Christopher much embarrassment as he had acquired the nickname "black teeth" in his school. She said he was extremely self-conscious and did not like to smile. It is hard to believe that a women who herself had a full mouth of relatively healthy teeth could be so ignorant about caring for the teeth of her child however she was convinced that this was the result of some mysterious medical condition and not simply the result of years of neglecting to brush. It took three visits, several heart to heart discussions and lots of teeth brushing demonstrations with both the mother and Christopher but we were able to rebuild a healthier smile and hopefully encourage better, more consistent oral hygiene. On his last visit his mother told us that Christopher had become a new child over the past week. He was showing off his new white smile to everyone and would rush to brush his teeth after every meal and snack. We can only hope that this new routine will stick.
We are dedicated more than ever to raising awareness about proper oral heath care and providing lasting solutions that allow children to enjoy great oral health well into the future, regardless of financial standing.
--Oscar & Rebekah Gonzalez
We at Dental Dreams wholeheartedly support the great work by Oscar's and Rebekah's charity and hope this story of hope inspired you as much as us.