Many inspiring stories came out of Smile and See 2023 but some really stand out. Lundi Sibanda, our 40,000th patient is one of them. This was more than a simple procedure. This is a young life saved.
Smile And See Safari 2023 – 40,000th patient
After 11 years of facilitating this event, we knew that this year, our fourth site, Dhlamini Clinic would see our 40,000th patient. At around 09:30 that morning, we met him. Lundi, a 12-year-old boy from Phondo village, accompanied by his mum entered the diagnosis tent manned by Fabio, Ezio and Carlotta. Lundi had a broken right front tooth, broken during ‘play fighting’ several months previously. He was directed to the Restorative Tent / Fillings Department. The agony of a broken front tooth with an exposed nerve for several months is hard to imagine. It was clear it also meant the child was malnourished and experiencing great difficulty. A traditional healer in his village had tried to treat the tooth with herbs which had unfortunately compounded his problems with serious infections.
Arantxa, an expert in root canal surgery immediately stepped up, first of all with some anaesthesia, which instantly brought some relief to Lundi for the first time in months. She then painstakingly cleared out the vegetable matter and infected nerves from that broken tooth. Finally, the stump was now clean and nerveless and this story could’ve ended there with a pain-free child and a gap-toothed smile.
Restoring a smile and giving hope for the future
Fixing a child’s teeth goes beyond cosmetic improvements; it contributes to their physical and emotional well-being, social interactions, and long-term success. It empowers them to face the world with confidence, laying the foundation for a positive and fulfilling life.
Instead, Susana took over with the second painstaking task; building Lundi a new front tooth. Giving Lundi a full smile again that he could be proud of.
Later morning that day, temperatures soared and an hour and a half into his treatment, young Lundi became overcome by fatigue and passed out. We laid him out, raised his legs, cooled him down, loosened his clothing and got him sipping on a cold Coke. It revived him enough so that Susana could continue her work. Nearly two hours after he had first entered the “Restorative Tent”, Lundi moved on, smile restored, to our other departments.
His first stop was the pharmacy for antibiotics from Dr Matemi and his team and then lunch at our ‘restaurant’ where huge pots of sadza and beans (polenta fajole!) are prepared daily for the thousands of people who pass through the clinic. Danisani bumped him straight to the front of the queue. He and Reason, who was assisting there that day, assured us later, that our hungry young Lundi had eaten more than three grown men.
That afternoon, Lundi with his Mum, older brother and sister swung by the Restorative Tent to say thank you and goodbye, before boarding their bus home, we took a few more photos and shared a very happy few minutes with his family and that kid never stopped smiling!
Just another Miracle in Matabeleland from the Smile and See team. Thank You!!!