Meet the doctors and their amazing team!  The people in Dera, Ethiopia needed them, anticipated them, and were so grateful for them.   We stepped off of the bus, and started walking towards the empty clinic on day one, and a group of 30+ Ethiopians are waiting near the door to the clinic.  They see us coming, and they all quietly stand and start clapping in unison.  I get goosebumps.  As we approach the doors, and I start shooting images of all of these colorful and wonderful people, I capture the oldest of the old, the youngest of the young.  We communicate easily without knowing each others language.  I take a picture of them, and then I show them the picture on my LCD screen, and they look at it and laugh.  I then place my hand across my chest and I say “gelatoma!”  Which I think means “thank you” but they all laugh at me.  Am I saying it wrong?  I am laughing too.  I feel a connection with them and it feels like home, even though that sounds so weird, it does.

The dental team (doctors and assistants) go right to work and set up three beach lounge chairs for their waiting patients.  They pull out a kajillion silver instruments and line them up in order.  They organize the sterilizer station, the jugs of tylenol and the buckets for spit.  Within an hour they are ready to see their first patients, and by the end of 3 very full days, they have pulled 995 teeth, and are leaving a crowd by the door begging for more of their attention.  And although I know they would stay if they could, our time is gone. I was amazed at their service, while they stayed in this clinic for 3 long days pulling teeth for so many people, I got to tromp around the village, the schools, and the countryside taking pictures.  But not one of them complained.  When you go to a place like Dera, there is no room to complain.  In fact, I think we all left our complaining behind.

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