So far in Ollantaytambo, I have done some pretty rewarding things; however not many have been quite as rewarding as the recent dental campaign that I participated in. During the week-long campaign, my brother, my friend and I woke up every day bright and early (unfortunately at 6:45 AM) and walked over to a nearby school. All of the schools that we visited were in Ollanta and in neighboring villages. The first order of business was always talking to the principal (the “director”). After explaining exactly what it is that we were going to do and more importantly, why we were doing it, the principal then decided which classrooms would be best to give fluoridation to.
Next, we entered each classroom and gave a ten-minute presentation to the students, in Spanish, about how to brush their teeth while demonstrating (with the occassional bit of humor) how exactly it is done. (The kids always laughed at the part when our friend Josue brushes his tongue.) We then taught them various chants about how many times they should brush their teeth and how long they should spend brushing and flossing. Then, the actual fluoridation began. This process consisted of five students approaching us and answering ten simple hygiene-related questions (which also provided us with some great data). Then, once all students answered the questions, we led the entire group in drying their mouths with cotton balls and applying the fluoride. Finally, they spat the fluoride out and received a special treat (either a packet on how to properly take care of your teeth or actual tooth brushes or tooth paste). The fluoridation campaign was so much fun (and hopefully just as fun for the students)!
Written by Sacred Valley Health volunteer Ellis Bernstein