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Updated: Aug 4, 2023

In June of 2023, a group of international volunteers joined the Cadena de Amor team for a dental brigade in the mountainous village of Yuscaran. The village has a long history going back to the mining days during Spanish colonial times. Today it is known throughout Honduras for a distillery that produces a very cheap sugar cane rum.

As is normal for Cadena de Amor, each day begins with a "charla" or oral hygiene lesson usually presented by Dra. Gloria. She has great passion for this work and is very successful connecting with the children, nearly all of whom have a parent, grandparent, aunt or other relative listening as well. Dr. Gloria demonstrates the proper technique for toothbrushing and also talks a great deal about the importance of a good diet that minimizes the intake of sugar. Unfortunately, Coca Cola is very prevalent in all the little stores throughout Honduras and is consumed regularly by many children.

As you can see in the pictures above, the team provides treatment for 35 to 40 students in each half-day clinic. On this trip, Heart for Hope was fortunate to have Dr. Tom Rheuben of Sisters, Oregon as part of the team. With Dr. Jose, Dr. Gustavo, and Dra. Gloria joining Tom, we were able to examine and treat a large number of kids each day.

In the picture below, Dr. Tom and volunteer Dianne Kelley of Grand Island, Nebraska, consult on their preparation as the day begins.

Despite the long and sometimes nervous waits, the children exude a natural, if somewhat mischievous charm; these moments make the days fly by.

In addition to our providers, the team needs support staff such as dental assistants and a person to staff the sterilization tables. As we use a tray system to provide instruments for our dentists, the sterilization tech can stay quite busy. Heart for Hope thanks all our volunteers who help the dentists in their valuable service for the Honduran children.

In the above picture, volunteer Kathy Campbell of Sisters, Oregon, is preparing the sterile instrument trays before the day's clinic begins. In the background, volunteer Pam Dierberger of Beatrice, Nebraska, fills a dental unit water bottle as she starts her day as a dental assistant.

While the team is quite busy most of the week providing care for over 300 students, they still have time for some fun and social activity. In the pictures above and below you can see team members celebrating the completion of a jigsaw puzzle, enjoying a Friday night dance with a local band provided by the mayor of Yuscaran, and a special presentation of "muy gigantes."

Xiomara Chavez, wife of the mayor of Yuscaran and a strong supporter of the dental brigades in her community, thanks Dr. Tom for his service.

At the conclusion of the week, the volunteer team had the opportunity to spend a few days at the Pacific beach house of a Honduran friend, pictured below. It was a wonderful place for a little R & R before returning to the U.S.

I urge all of you reading this blog to also read the short blog to follow that recaps the activity of Cadena de Amor from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Heart for Hope is delighted to work with such an excellent NGO partner as Cadena de Amor. If you wish to donate to support this work, you can click on the link in this website to do so. Or better yet, if you would like to be a volunteer with a future trip, don't hesitate to contact us through this website.

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