On June 29, 2019, the ZOS team landed in Nairobi prepared for 7 days of hard work in and around the Maasai Mara game reserve.
Taking a small plane, we landed on the Mara Olkiombo airstrip to be met by Jackson Njapit, the local health worker in Talek, Kenya. Talek is an impoverished town bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve that has desperate need for oral healthcare with the vast majority of our patients needing multiple extractions.
After settling in to camp, we met with Jackson to discuss the healthcare needs in Talek Town, and how they could be addressed. The demands for oral healthcare are severe in rural Kenya, and time and time again we are reminded why we choose to service this area of East Africa in particular. Dr. Zimmer also followed up with Jackson on the training that we provided him on our last trip in December 2018. He told us that he is using the sterilizer that we left him, as well as Dr. Zimmer’s instruction on injection of oral anesthetic and the instruments that we left in his care.
We spent two days working in Talek with Jackson, during which time Dr. Zimmer was able to perform more than 100 difficult extractions, most of which being wisdom teeth, on more than 65 patients.
We then moved on to Maji Moto, Kenya (meaning “moving water” in Maasai) where we set up shop in the community clinic and serviced more than 30 school children in 6 hours.
While we were in Maji Moto, we had the opportunity to visit some of the schools and orphanages that host some of our patients. There we found a progressive message of female empowerment through education, a fight against female circumcision, a challenging curriculum, and a very well rehearsed song and dance routine performed by the girls at the Enkiteng Lepa School.
This trip to Kenya, however, was unique in that we were able to provide support in areas other than dental. Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to provide prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, as well as readers for some of the local clinics. We were also able to provide three schools with pens, pencils, erasers, calculators, and writing paper to aid in the education of the Kenyan youth in the communities that we serve.
Over the course of our 7 day trip we were able to pull more than 150 teeth in two cities, diagnose hundreds of cases of gum disease, hand out more than 200 toothbrushes, and improve on our health care delivery methods.
We can not express enough gratitude to our donors who make this work possible. With your support, we can make a profound difference in not only the health and comfort of rural Kenya, but also the culture surrounding oral healthcare and education.