Spreading Smiles Through Honduras
They wait for hours to see him.
Dr. William Lord is a Georgetown dentist who spends 10 days every spring treating patients in Honduras. He travels with dentists, nurses, doctors and home builders to Honduras to help a people who will walk for as long as five hours in order to see a dentist.
Dr. Lord is mostly retired now, although he does spend one day a week at his Georgetown practice.
In that 10-day session every year, he is a volunteer in Honduras and sees hundreds of patients, teaches children to brush their teeth, and pulls hundreds of teeth from residents in a converted beach chair with a head rest. The conditions are primitive and he’s been chased from his makeshift clinic by tarantulas.
One of the few bad moments was when airport security nearly prohibited him from taking his drill on board the plane after 9/11. “When you come back, pack it in your luggage and we’ll put it in the cargo,” he was advised.
But the people make it worthwhile, he said. They line up 200 or 300 deep to see the volunteers who come from PRO PAPA Missions America every year. PRO PAPA is a private group which began its work in 1996 to ease the suffering and improve the lives of the people of Honduras, which has seen recent devastation caused by both hurricanes and earthquakes.
The volunteers provide glasses for patients, give prenatal vitamins to pregnant women, teach children to brush their teeth and provide basic medical and dental care for people who may have never seen a doctor. “The people are in such need,” he said. “I have been a very lucky person.”
A special project taken on by Dr. Lord was to measure the head of one girl who is bald because she crawled into a machine which collapsed on her head as a toddler. That child will ultimately receive a wig and she can take off the hat that she wears constantly, he said. “That’s one of my special projects. She could have probably gone to two other dentists and they wouldn’t have taken off her hat (because it was in the way),” he said.
“They are just such nice people,” he said. “It has been such a wonderful experience.”
He proudly shows off a plaque he received given “for your generous, loving and professional dental care for the Honduran people.”
Michael Short, Sussex Post
Learn more about being a Volunteer in Honduras.