Tzu Chi Outreach Brings Medical and Dental Care to Canoa Residents

TIMA  |  January 24, 2019

With the first official medical outreach in Canoa, Ecuador, Tzu Chi volunteers came ready to provide care for the needs of the residents there as well as in Santa Ana and Portoviejo, even if it meant doing so in the torrential rains on the first day. There was much work that needed to be done, and rain was not going to deter the volunteer medical team that was ready to help.

Complete with 12 doctors from the U.S. working alongside local doctors, Tzu Chi treated the many underprivileged people who wanted and needed to be seen by the volunteer medical staff.

Tzu Chi volunteers treated a young boy born with infantile cerebral paralysis who needed antibiotics for a fever and sore throat and whose family was so grateful for the care, hoping the volunteers would return.

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A local mother brought her young son who received a bit from their dog. They had nowhere  else to go because there was no local doctor. Tzu Chi volunteers tended to the boy and provided the boy with pills for pain and his fever.

Many of the local residents felt compelling to help and offered their volunteer services.

There are more local volunteers now, and they’re still joining. I think the number of volunteers is growing and getting stronger.

Medical services were desperately needed in the communities and volunteers were at the ready to help the needs of the residents.

Locals felt compelled to volunteer because they themselves were raised to help others, which is part of Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s own teachings. One volunteer brought along her children who were grateful to help. While she involves her family in helping others, it also gave them hands-on experience and filled their hearts.

I have a big heart. My mother and family raised us that way. Always serving people. Here are my kids. The oldest is guiding people to the medical stations.

The importance of the medical outreach here is great. While many local residents previously were unable to see the doctor because they lack the funds to travel to see one, others are very excited about the opportunity to see one of the four volunteer dentists from the U.S. Working with a local dentist, Tzu Chi’s medical team was ready to promote dental health to the community.

Local dentist volunteer Gabriela Duchely from Guayaquil was happy to not only use her skills but provide those skills to those in need and to learn from Tzu Chi’s volunteers. She was happy to be able to use the quality tools while observing Tzu Chi dental techniques.

Volunteer dentist Michelle Lam was honored to follow along in her own parents’ footsteps and make a difference to those who are underprivileged.

Just wanted to make a difference in the world, and my parents were big time into Buddhism...When they passed away, I wanted to do something that would be in memory and in honor of them.

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Many attending the outreach were children whose mouths were filled with cavities needing attention. The outreach was not only important to fill their cavities but also to educate them and their parents about the importance of oral hygiene.

To understand each other, it’s not only through language. From the heart, you can communicate anything. They treat us with love. I received a dental check-up. Now, I have a perfect smile.

Not only are the volunteer dentists grateful by giving of their services to help make the world a better place, the young residents of Canoa are inspired by them.

There are people who need someone. Sometimes, they don’t have them. I’m going to be a volunteer when I grow up because I like it. Because I like to help people.