by Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan
In the next several “On the Road” articles we will visit a number of social ministry projects operated by our LCC Nicaragua Mission. In this article, I introduce you to Dr. Rodolfo Mendoza, our Mission Clinic dentist. Dr. Mendoza graduated from the Faculty of Dentistry at the National University of Leon in 2004 and he joined our team at the Medical Clinic in February this year.
It is my first visit since returning to Nicaragua. Dr. Mendoza has a wonderful smile on this face as he expresses his thanks for the new dental chair installed in the centre as well as other supplies donated to the clinic by Canadian Lutheran World Relief. It is much easier to operate than the old chair (a 1950s model) and much more comfortable for the patients.
Dr. Mendoza arrives at the clinic each Thursday around 8:30 a.m. During his morning hours he sees about five adult patients. In the afternoons, he sees mostly children. This afternoon he saw six. Most patients, both young and old have problems with cavities. He fills them and provides a cleaning. There was a time when there were a lot more extractions, but now he sees fewer and fewer. He also spends time helping children and their parents develop good cleaning and brushing habits.
Our Medical Dental Clinic opened on Easter Monday of 2009. On staff are Dr. Mendoza and our physician, Dr. Benjamin Garcia who has served here since the beginning. Our objective is to provide treatment for the pastors and deaconesses and their families; to provide on-going care for those whom visiting medical mission teams have identified; and provide clinic services to members of the community. In addition to providing the care of a doctor and dentist, the clinic tries to have any prescription medication on hand as most patients find it difficult to purchase their prescriptions. Theannual $10,000 medical clinic budget is supported by generous donations apart from the Synod’s mission budget.