A toothbrush? What’s that?!

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It was a wet and sticky morning as we loaded up the truck and left for our third medical clinic in the small Haitian village of Baraguana today. Once we arrived, we were hardly set up for twenty minutes when it started to pour from the heavens. Luckily, the community church (no electricity included, of course) was close-by so we were able to pack up and take shelter in there. Today, I was working in the pharmacy, along with 4 other team members. It was a truly enjoyable experience as we all worked together so well! The people were so excited to receive their prescriptions, even if it was only a little baggie containing a half dozen Tylenol, you could have swore they were walking away with gold by the look of happiness on their faces.


Besides the prescriptions, we were also giving each person a toothbrush and toothpaste. It shocked me that there were a few people who came through who had absolutely no idea what a toothbrush was or what to do with it! This was a huge eye opener for me – brushing my teeth has been part of my daily routine for my entire life but yet I take it for granted everyday, little did I know that there are people in our world who think of brushing their teeth as a luxury. The kids were absolutely ecstatic to receive their toothbrushes, they were running around showing them to anyone who would spare a second. It felt unbelievably  rewarding to know that we played a part of brightening their day!    


The highlight of my day came from a short conversation I had with one young girl. I asked her in Creole (their language which is a mix of French and African dialect) how she was doing. She very cheerfully replied “very good!” with a huge toothy smile. I was at a loss for words, I don’t understand how these people, especially this child who was dressed in a torn up dress and wearing little boys sandals at least 2 sizes too small, are able to look beyond their environment,  hardships and struggles and find happiness and hope. I thought to myself, ” if that were me, could I do the same?”. Honestly, I am unsure.     


These people live in such difficult and different circumstances than us, yet they are able to feel and express all the same emotions as we do. We are all the same people, only we are born into different situations, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I will never forget what I learned today. Just goes to show that experience truly is the best teacher.

Cheryl – LiveDifferent Hero Holiday Medical Trip Volunteer 2012

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: August 27th, 2012