June 24, 2008

Toothbrush

I was looking at my photos of Morocco tonight. Luckily just before our computer crashed I was able to share them on snapfish with our group that went down, and thus they were saved. I was reminded of an experience that I thought I would share here on my blog. On one of the last days in Zagora the atmosphere in the clinic was getting hectic and stressed because we were running out of time and there were so many people still wanting to be seen. I remember they locked the front gates so that we wouldn't have crowd control issues. Then the press showed up with video cameras and they opened the gates back up to have people to shoot on camera with us. That created some problems when we were not able to treat everyone inside now and they simply wouldn't leave when told to. We were only supposed to see patients with the correct paperwork. (Unless told by the one in charge- Eileen, that it was okay for them to be seen). There was this handsome young teenager who kept zeroing in on me and asking for a cleaning. He had no papers, so I kept telling him "no" and shrugging my shoulders apologetically. I could see the reason for his urgency about wanting to have his teeth cleaned. He had what so many of them have-brown stain all over the front surfaces of his teeth. Stain that we had been trying to remove earlier from one of our translators teeth. We had some intense bleaching solution that didn't even put a dent in the stain. So in addition to wanting help he was also not going to get what he wanted- simply impossible. Finally he just asked with gestures if he could have a toothbrush as he had seen others in the streets with new toothbrushes. That I thought I could get him, but when I looked in our supplies- we were fresh out of them. He didn't take the news well and hid his tears from me on an abrupt walk around the school yard. My heart went out to him. I had a translator go and get him, took him to my backpack and took out my personal travel toothbrush (used one time). Told him to take it home and boil it if possible. Told him it would not remove his stain. He was so grateful to me! What an experience this was for me to have the opportunity to touch someone like that... I will never forget it.

2 comments:

Julie said...

Oh my goodnes...this just breaks my heart. I totally take my cheapo toothbrush for granted! I need to be more grateful for the littlest things I have. Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm going to read it to my kids tomorrow! You are such a wonderful woman. Thank you for your example. Also...thanks for you kind words on my blog...but...I have to say that YOU are the one that is inspirational!!! Oh yea...sorry about the computer. That's a huge bummer!

Camrin said...

What a touching story. Thanks for sharing it with us all. :)