Thursday, December 12, 2013

“Hey, there’s a rock in my stew. Oh, never mind, it’s just one of my crowns.” — Me

Here’s one of the differences between living here and living in an industrialized country:  last night, a crown on one of my back molars fell out—if we were living in the States, I would be at a dentist today, getting things fixed.  As it is, the first time I can get to a dentist (a missionary dentist in Mwanza) is next Wednesday and that will be after a two hour drive to get there.  There may or may not be a dentist there.  Most of the time there are one or two dentists from the U.K. who are doing mission work here.  The Hope Dental Center also sends visiting dentists out into the villages as well.  They do wonderful work with what they have to use, but it is not the same as being able to ask for Smurf gas if needed—they don’t have any.  There is no insurance of course, so we pay whatever we owe.  They try to keep the prices down and on more than one occasion, we have paid more than they asked to help with their mission.  In the meantime, it is time for old folk’s pureed food, mostly liquid.  For pain, we have aspirin and that’s about it.  No friendly all-night drug store to get the kind of dental medications you expect.  However, in the end, I will see a dentist of sorts, and if it has to be pulled, well it’s just another way to lose a little weight.  There are almost always children there, so I don’t yell and act like a little boy no matter how much I wish I could.  We don’t mind, though, because we knew when we came this was the way things were.  Even the very rich here, and there are a few, will fly to Nairobi, Kenya, or Dar Es Salaam to see a good dentist with all the proper equipment and medications, so nobody gets convenient service like you would get from Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Box, or Dr. Luke.  Sure wish one of them was here right now.  Next time you see an American dentist, be sure and thank them for their wonderful service to you.  It’s just not like that for about 80% of the world.
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