Thursday, March 3, 2016

“Blessed are they who hold lively conversations with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called dentists.” ― Ann Landers

So, you’re eating your dinner of stir-fried chicken and rice and think you’ve hit a rock someone missed while cleaning the rice.  You pull it out to look at it, and the rock looks just like the crown off your back molar—with a spike coming out.  I shudder to think what that spike would have done to my insides had I swallowed it.  Anyway, if you’re in the U.S., you call your dentist and make an appointment for the next day, go in and have it re-cemented, and your insurance pays for it.  Not here.  Here there is only one dentist in a forty mile radius, and he only does extractions.  There is a dentist in the town about an hour’s drive north, but as this is around the end of the month, he will be swamped with patients (they get paid at the end of the month and then get the medical and dental work done they need).  Add to that mix, that I can’t ride that far and have to be able to have a disabled western bathroom to use and I am up that creek that rhymes with “Brit.”  But not to worry, the Tanzanian dentist is a friend of Shaban’s, and he agrees to come to Bunda and do the work at my house.  The crown came out Saturday night and it is now Tuesday, so Wednesday I will get it fixed.  The dentist is very good and is limited by the equipment he doesn’t have, but this shouldn’t be a problem.  He rides the bus to Bunda, Shaban picks him up and brings him to our house.  Now, picture this.  No dentist chair to lean back, so I am lying prone on my bed with my head hanging over the end.  The dentist is sitting on a stool where he can work on my mouth.  No light?  No problem.  Shaban gets the flashlight on his phone and lights up the inside of my mouth.  Thirty minutes later (no painkillers of any kind) and I am good to go.  It should be noted that neither John nor Karen wanted to watch any of this.  While this is going on, I receive a package of cheap watches to give away from a man in Miami I have never met but is on my internet watch forum (I had no idea they were coming).  One of them was a team watch for the United States Polo Association, and the dentist fell in love with it.  He took the watch and instead of charging me $50, only charged $25 (not bad).  Karen saw a watch made entirely of dark, African wood and it is now on her wrist with her other wooden bracelets.  Shaban saw one he liked, so he got a new watch for providing light.  Shaban takes the dentist back to the bus station, and, three hours later, I can eat again (and I do).  Just another typical day for the Wiggins in Africa.  Did I say we love it here?  We do.  Serving God brings many blessings.  As the dentist was leaving, admiring his new (and probably only) watch, he said God bless you in Swahili.  I told him he was too late, God had already blessed us.

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