July 2009
Who would have to learn to smile? Someone who's never done it, or tried hard not to.
Fatu's teeth were damaged from a developmental problem, possibly a high fever when
she was very small. Perhaps even malaria as a baby; more common than not here.
Regardless, the discoloration of her teeth made her the victim of a lot of teasing from her
peers, leading to a chronic attempt to hide her teeth when she laughed or smile.
Fatu is an orphan at a small orphanage not too
far from us, Mother Dewellie's. The place is in
"less than ideal" condition, to say the least. We
screened and treated the orphans that live
there. The orphanage has become a bit of a
side project for many of us here and Dr. Keith's
church in the U.S., along with many others are
beginning to help the orphanage.
The best part of treating this kind of condition is seeing the person learn to smile
again. To see that instinct of covering her teeth only last a second or two, followed
by an even bigger smile upon remembering her new teeth she saw in the mirror;
remebering she doesn't hide her teeth anymore.