A School in the Clouds

Remember when the dentists told us about oral health not being the highest priority in Guatemala? Well we hoped to do a little something about it.

This morning a shiny Hummer H2 driven by local Rotarian Ernesto showed up at the hotel to pick a group of us up.

Ernesto - entrepreneur, Rotarian, and owner of a very nice car.

Ernesto – entrepreneur, Rotarian, and owner of a very nice car.

Our mission: to distribute toothbrushes and information about oral health to two schools outside Huehue – Chiquiguites and Guiton Grande. I suppose they weren’t as much “outside” Huehue as “above” Huehue. These towns were on top of the Cuchumatanes Mountains.

The scenery we saw during the 90-minute car ride was truly amazing. Different areas of the mountains had very different climates and landscapes. We remarked how it appeared to go from the highlands of Scotland to the surface of the moon.

Cuchumatanes - the green part

Cuchumatanes – the green part

Cuchumatanes - the rocky part

Cuchumatanes – the rocky part

We arrived to a nice welcome from the students, teachers, and a lot of other community members who showed for the excitement.

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With the help of his hand puppet, Reinhard got right to work telling the kids all about how brushing their teeth will lead to healthy teeth and gums.

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But if the explanation didn’t make it clear the importance of brushing, this next part sure did. I’ll let the video explain.

Next, we made sure every child went home with a toothbrush. The hope is that by creating good habits early, children will continue to take good care of their teeth in the future. Many of the adults we’ve seen here had missing or gold teeth, so hopefully the next generation can lead the way.

Dr. Steve hands out toothbrushes.

Dr. Steve hands out toothbrushes.

On the way, we stopped to check out a Rotary project taking place in many communities on the mountain. Ernesto leads the local Rotary’s service projects, including putting in water collection systems in places where water is hard to come by. By putting in tanks to collect rain, residents can save hours walking to wells for their daily water needs.

Little girl stands in front of rain collection tanks.

Little girl stands in front of rain collection tanks.

Woman draws water from the tanks.

Woman draws water from the tanks.

Working with local Rotarians like Ernesto, the team hopes to be able to reach even more schools next year.

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2 Thoughts On “A School in the Clouds”

  1. John A Bennett February 19, 2015

    I’ve just finished reading all your posts. It’s a wonderful way to warm up on this cold day in Ia City, -6F when I left the house. Thank you for sharing. The world could use a couple of million more people like you. I’m glad you’re here and there too. Thank you.

  2. John A Bennett February 19, 2015

    I’ve just finished reading all your posts. It’s a wonderful way to warm up on this cold day in Ia City, -6F when I left the house. Thank you for sharing. The world could use a couple of million more people like you. I’m glad you’re here and there too. Thank you.

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