What makes this work so interesting!
Recently I sold a Sea Otter Narrow boat to a customer (James Smith) who is a retired dentist. The boat was surveyed and there were a couple of minor issues to be resolved prior to completion.
James had said he would be away for a few weeks so there was no rush to get the work done. I asked if he was going "anywhere nice" as one does, the reply I got was not what I would have ever imagined.
James was going to Nicaragua for 2 weeks to perform basic dental care, pain relief and dental health education. In order to visit the villages the main form of transport (now here's the nautical link !!) is a small narrow boat called a "Panger" that has a 200 hp engine hung on the back!!....
Below is a brief and interesting report from James along with pictures of this work he regularly provides at his own cost................
I’ve just returned from my fifth trip to Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti. A fragile Central American democratic state sandwiched between Honduras and Costa Rica. Two enormous lakes and many active volcanoes dominate the landscape which is frequently subjected to prolonged hurricanes and flooding. However, it is populated by a delightful mix of people; indigenous Indians, Afro- Caribbeans and people of Spanish decent.
I work with “The Peace and Hope Trust” based in Ross on Wye, and teams of old and young go each year to build, plant and encourage.
As a dentist I was part of a team providing basic dental care, pain relief and dental health education. Bluefields, our base, is a bustling town on the Caribbean coast with an unemployment rate of 85%! Crime is rife and it is dangerous after dark. Travel was mostly by boat, a very fast moving open boat called a Panger that was powered by a massive 200hp outboard motor. A hairy ride, not for the faint hearted with speeds of up to 40mph! A far cry from our sedate Boatshed narrowboat on the Broads! We visited remote villages along the banks of the Rio Grande, covering a distance of about 200miles. We even braved the waves of the Caribbean!
The dental needs are mind blowing, and we extracted hundreds of decayed teeth. Simple fillings were placed and we always spent time teaching young and old how to care for their teeth. Many families came, often paddling for two to three hours in their dugout canoes once they had heard we’d arrived. I admired their courage and skill in managing their boats. Without water transport many thousands of people would be cut off from emergency help.
Each visit is a life changing experience for us, helping us to appreciate our own privileges and plenty.