For the next couple of weeks, a group of American dentists, dental assistants, physicians, nurses and other professionals will be volunteering their time and expertise to benefit the community of San Pedro Town. Stationed at the San Pedro Lions Den, the professional practitioners expect to attend over a thousand patients while on the island.
For the first week, La Isla Bonita welcomed 14 doctors who did everything from extractions to fillings and cleaning. As part of the Belize Mission Project, these caring individuals provide free dental and medical care to people who cannot afford this necessary care.
Part of the group visited other areas of the country including Caye Caulker, Seine Bight Village and Burrel Boom. Some of the specialists have been on this project and seen patients in San Pedro for more than 13 years for others it is their first time. For those that it is their first, they instantly fell in love with the island, its people and will definitely return with the mission next year.
The project began in 1993 and was originally known as “The Fishin’ Mission.” At that time, the trip focused on two things: dental/medical mission work and professional fishing. Dr. Frank Whipps, a practicing orthodontist in Centralia, Illinois was one of the founding members of “The Fishin’ Mission.” His inner desire to focus strictly on dental and medical mission work was shared by many of the now regular group participants. As a result, and with help from Mr. Will Lala, a longtime resident of San Pedro Town, the “Belize Mission Project” was formed. 2003 marks a decade of existence.
This time around, Dr. Whipps returned to the island. However, he also took another big project at hand. This time he assisted the San Pedro Poly Clinic II in getting needed minor renovations carried out. Among this was the installing of shelving units in various rooms at the clinic. “Having the shelves helps the clinic to store and organize many items. It may seem small but it is an addition to the clinic that is very much needed,” he commented.
Big thumbs up and a hearty thank you to everyone who arrived to make San Pedro and Belize’s smile brighter and healthier. Kudus to Belize Mission Project!!!