Toothbrushes, Eyeglasses and Smiles All Around…Feb. 4, 2012

“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” ~ Native American Proverb

Donated clothing and household items are sold at the Gran Bazar to bring low cost goods to people in need and to raise funds for future Friends of Cozumel projects.

The people who showed up early to the Gran Bazar knew through word of mouth promotion that they’d find affordable used clothing.What they hadn’t anticipated however, was that they’d also have access to free dental care and eyeglasses. Long lines formed around Dr. Julie, a Nebraska professor of dentistry, who was giving free fluoride treatments. One of her helpers was a young local volunteer who hopes to go to the U.S. for college some day and perhaps pursue a career in health care.

Dr. Julie shows children how to open their mouths for fluoride treatments.

Dr. Julie shows children how to open their mouths for fluoride treatments.

“One of my high points in this experience so far was watching Nuri help with the treatments,” Dr. Julie said. “It was so cool to see this young woman work and know that she could be the next person to carry on here if she’s able to pursue her education plans.”

Crowds also formed around volunteers testing vision and handing out “cheater” eyeglasses. While we take a visit to an optometrist for granted, many people have never had that opportunity.

“Getting a pair of magnifiers and suddenly being able to read the small print of a Bible is a life-changing experience for some of these folks,” said Ilene.

Local volunteer Nuri had to be persistent to paint the fluoride treatment on a baby's teeth.

At times we’ve worried about not having sufficient Spanish to complete some complex processes in the course of our work, but the local people use so much patience and good humor with us.

“Even without a common language, we can say so much,” said Shirley from California. “Just look at their faces. You don’t need words if you really look at their faces.”

Mike helped people select the right strength of reading glasses.

For some, a simple pair of magnifier eye glasses turns into a life-changing experience.

Diane and Mike used a chart with various sizes of print to help people determine which strength of magnifiers was needed.

Aimee showed teeth-brushing methods to children with a model.

Shirley found no problem communicating at the Gran Bazar.

Getting a new toothbrush all their own was a special treat for many children.


“We never get to the bottom of ourselves on our own. We discover who we are face to face and side by side with others in work, love and learning.” ~ Robert Bellah, American sociologist and author of Habits of the Heart

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