At our Mobile Outreach Sites more than in our classrooms we get included into intimate details. We learn about children who are scurrying out to buy supari and others who just chewed ‘tabac’, some one who is experimenting with ‘beedi’ and despite our ever increasing pressures of library/ literacy work I felt we must get involved.
Thankfully I am married to a fine man who runs a fine dental practice and community oral health has been an issue of ever growing concern in his practice.
I believe when you are a good person, a gifted practitioner a natural educator, you life gets filled with like minded and so it has come to pass that some of the other dentists in Fernando Noronha’s dental clinics are fine practitioners too!
Dr. Deepa is one of them. She led the Oral Health session at MOP Chimbel today and spoke to the children so powerfully and yet so respectfully that all I could do was be thankful. At Bookworm we strive to create a culture of mutual respect and dialogue and Deepa’s natural philosophy mirrored ours. She shared interesting visuals about oral health, care for teeth and the harmful effects of tabacco and allied products. Everything was clearly understood by the children, strong messages of oral safety and good eating habits were reinforced and all of this in a non didactic, participatory manner.
The children then had their teeth checked and it was so wonderful to see the happiness marked on both the cards and the faces when the check up certified them good. Many of the children, over 90% however need care and further work on their teeth and as Deepa said, our responsibility starts here! They must all follow this check up with a visit to a dental facility and in the weeks to come, through MOP we will try and pursue this.
We had a good day at the library, we read some, we talked some, we listened some, we smiled some and we know some – more than we did before this day.
What we are most thankful for is a community of health professionals who support us and the children whose lifes are entwined with us. We will keep smiling !