On January 14, 2018 arrived to the Aratama community in Meneruá river. Small community, only 15 people live there and we managed to meet 11 of these people, all children and women, except for the men. I think they were scared of the dentists, after all, we were three. Finally, at the end of the dental care, we cleaned things up, said goodbye to the people, and set off for another community. São Sebastião was our destination. We stopped near the Meneruazinho River, because there the water was black-colored, different from the river we were at. We took that water to treat, wash white clothes, to drink, and to do several other things. After that, we continued along the Menerua River, where the water color was muddy.
Around 5:00 p.m. we arrived at São Sebastião, tied the boat, and finally docked in solid ground. Pedro Paulo, an 84 year-old man, approached me almost immediately. I introduced myself, saying my name and explaining that I was dentist. But he was really interested in knowing if I could operate his eyes. I said no, my job was with the mouth. Then he opened up a big smile, showing off the “teeth” he didn’t have and said, “I need some teeth here,” and gave a good laugh. I became a fan of his. The simplicity on his face, typical of the people here, a very humble life, not many things… but with great joy.
I talked a lot with this gentleman, I listened to many stories and I laughed a lot. Mr. Pedro Paulo is almost blind due to cataracts, and he has no access to a doctor because the nearest town is about 12 hours by boat.
Like Pedro Paulo, the riverside people lack attention, both in the area of health, sanitation and education. The distance complicates everything. The work of Luzeiro is intended to meet a little bit of these needs, and especially to take some of the love of Christ for the people. A little bit of the love he puts in our hearts.
About the Author
Wille Annies is from Ponta Grossa, Paraná State, and is a dentist on the Luzeiro XXVI boat, which works in the municipality of Juruá, on the Solimões and Juruá rivers.