Dental Aid in Burkina Faso
"In my name, they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well," Jesus said to His disciples one day. Frequently we have interpreted this only in the sense of healing through prayer. But when people or a Christian institution cares for the sick in the name of Christ, this is also carrying out the order of the Lord to heal the sick in His name.
Dental team visit
A little over a year ago we began discussions with NorthWest Medical Teams, one of our American partners, about the possibility of hosting a dental team to serve the people of Burkina Faso.
The outcome of those discussions was the arrival of a team of four on Saturday, November 20, 2004 in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. We met them at the airport and then made the four-hour trip to Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina's second largest city.
On Monday, November 22 we arrived at the worksite around 8:00 a.m. to find a great crowd of people waiting for us. The team was a little curious to see how all this would take place. While they were getting dressed for work, we gathered the crowd together for a word of exhortation and prayer.
I explained to them how the team's visit to our country had come about, and that two things impressed me about their visit. First, their interest in the health of our people that made them leave their country so far away to come to Burkina, but also and most of all, that each of the four team members had paid his own transportation and expenses to come take care of people that he didn't even know. Only the love of one's neighbor can
explain such an attitude. I said that this makes us reflect on the love God showed in giving His only Son so that we might have eternal life, without thinking about who we are. It is the love of God that made these people come to Burkina to serve us. I concluded by saying: "It is important for each of us to know this God whom we serve."
The patients came in a steady stream. The team took a break at 1:00 p.m. but had only enough time for a quick meal.
The seriousness of the patients' needs varied. Dr. and Mrs. Frankhausen filled teeth while Peter and Marianne concentrated on doing extractions. The lines were so long that by the end of the day, we had not been able to treat even half of the patients. I couldn't have imagined that there was such a serious problem of lack of dental care in Bobo-Dioulasso.
A team of journalists who had been informed about the team's coming was on hand. When one of them asked what it was that motivated the team, Dr. Peter's assistant, Marianne, unable to hold back her tears, replied: "These people are very nice but also very visibly poor and have a lot of dental problems." Peter said that he had the impression that the team's work "is only a drop of water in the sea", given the enormity of the needs.
After a week in Bobo-Dioulasso, the team traveled to Tougan, a town situated 300 kilometers from Bobo.
During the two weeks in Burkina Faso, a total of 443 people were treated, and 1,230 teeth pulled. I teased Peter, saying that if he continues to pull 1,000 teeth each time he comes, in ten years there will no longer be anyone with teeth in Bobo-Dioulasso!
The largest number of teeth pulled was from an old woman from whose mouth they pulled 17 teeth. Her case intrigued me so I asked her why she had neglected her teeth for so long and allowed them to be destroyed one by one until 17 were no longer any good. She answered in tears that when a person like herself doesn't have anything to eat, how could he find the money to have teeth pulled! "Thank you for all that you are doing for us," she said. I should mention here that the care given was free.
At the end of the second week we took the team back to Ouagadougou for their return flight. At the airport they said that their visit had been one of the best experiences in their professional career. Peter promised to come back next year, Lord willing.
For us it was a privilege to show the love of our God to some of the neediest people of our country.
Robert Sanou, National Coordinator of ACCEDES
Praise and prayer requests
- Pray that our current projects will go well and also for financing for future projects.
- Pray that the reimbursement of the small business loans and the ox loans will go smoothly.
- Pray that the medical center will work well and for God's protection on each one there.
ACCEDES celebrated Christmas with the prisoners in the civil prison here in Bobo-Dioulasso at the end of December. In March we distributed relief grain in Djibo, a town situated in the northern part of the country in the region suffering from the locust invasion and drought of the past farming season. We will give you more information on these activities in the next edition.
If you would like to serve the Lord by participating in a medical or dental team with ACCEDES in the future, please let us know of your interest (email@example.com).