The following is a journal kept by Dr. Lun Hangfu, as he recorded the rollercoaster experiences from his recent mission to Paraguay and Brazil in July 2010.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
After two and a half days of travel via air, bus and boat, we arrived at Bahia Negra. We checked in with the naval command and proceeded to Port Diana for our mission.
Port Diana is one of few Chamacoco Indians villages along the Paraguay River. It spreads over several miles from the riverbank. On first impression, it appears to be sparsely populated with wooden log cabins isolated from one another. The only passage between them is a villager’s walkway comprised of animal and human excrement compressed over time. The village has no electricity, filtered water, sanitation services, motorized vehicles, agriculture, or even grocery stores.
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We had 12 dental stations and one medical doctor assisted by three medical students. The pace was furious and we worked very hard to keep the traffic going. This year the lineup was not as long as previous years. The afternoon Paraguay was in the World Cup quarter-finals, very few locals came for treatment.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
There was morning church service and many locals stayed away till the afternoon.
There was rampant cavities and gum diseases throughout the village. There were many ailments related to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and eyes. And for the first time, many were happy to be able to see Brazil across the river with our donated prescription glasses.
The boat was not prepared with our electrical requirements and our dental equipment was forced to operate at substandard speed. We had to improvise and worked accordingly. Our Brazilian translators were not qualified translators. There were many miscommunications because of their poor language skills; we now knew we had to recruit professional translators for following years.