We just returned home from a quick trip to the dentist. Let me just give you an idea of what this looks like. First we had to go to the Immigration office. They did not give us our residence visas as anticipated so we needed letters stating we could leave the country. Of course, these letters came with a price tag. I’d been struggling with some dental pain since the last time we put off the trip a month ago, so we happily paid. We packed our car and said a little prayer that it will make it. This old vehicle has left us stranded on the side of the road more than once. We start off towards South Africa to see the dentist 10 hours away from our house.
You might be wondering why we travel so far to see a dentist when we have dentists in our own Chicuque Rural Hospital. I have wondered this myself. After considering the reality of our hospital, I quickly realize how we arrived at the decision to travel so far to see a dentist. The autoclave at the hospital has been broken since before we arrived. The autoclave is the thing that sterilizes instruments as to not spread infection. The gloves available at our facility are poor quality and are reused when supplies get low. There is no oral x-ray machine and local anesthetics are limited. Not to mention, I need to be able to explain my dental history and my Portuguese lexicon just won’t suffice. So we travel because we can…..but this is the best available to the vast majority here.
Arriving in Nelspruit, South Africa was like walking into an alternate reality. Shopping malls and grocery stores with isles and isles of fresh, abundant produce. Restaurants and amazing mountains were everywhere! Evidence of poverty was well hidden, although I’m certain poverty lives there also.
We were just planning on staying a couple of days, but thanks to David’s cavities (three of them), we got to extend our stay. It turned into a “med-cation”….that is my term for a medical trip turned vacation. We hiked in the mountains, explored a cave, ate Mexican food, shopped for supplies, and even saw a movie in the theater! It was a wonderful and much needed respite.
I even had the opportunity to experience a Fish Spa. That is, I paid to have little fish nibble the dead skin off my feet! My sweet husband gave me 30 minutes of peace and quiet to enjoy this while admiring beautiful views of God’s creation. As I was adjusting to the sensation of the fishy frenzy on my toes, a lady approached me. We visited for a while and she confessed she suspected we were missionaries. She is a Christian also. For a few moments, we shared life and admired the way that God puts people in our path at just the right time to encourage and bring assurance….like breadcrumbs on His path.
After the long journey, we were happy to be home and in our own beds. We are full of anticipation for how God will continue to drop breadcrumbs on His path for us here in Mozambique. We are daily seeking to trust the plans He has for us and remain in Him. Please pray that we see His path and are able to improve the hospital in a way that brings glory to God.