Tabasamu’s most recent trip was a five-day mission to Canges, Haiti in October 2013. This year’s mission included Tabasamu’s flagship programs, the Tooth Tour and a Teach the Teachers seminar. The Tooth Tour is a mobile educational program and puppet show that seeks to educate school children on the benefits and techniques of proper oral hygiene. This year, Tabasamu deployed three Tooth Tour teams, two by van and one by foot. The team on foot hiked four challenging hours over extreme, hilly terrain to reach schools that are two hours away from the nearest road. The Tooth Tours reached over 1,000 young people. Thanks to the kindness of Don and Sue Eavenson and Johnson & Johnson as well as the efforts of the United Nations School, each student received a toothbrush. The Teach the Teachers seminar gives local teachers advanced training to help them educate their students in the style of the Tooth Tours, thereby continuing our mission. Tabasamu team members had the pleasure of attending and presenting at a Haitian Episcopal church as well as visiting Sean Penn’s JP/HRO program, an NGO (founded after the devastating 2010 earthquake) which seeks to save lives and bring sustainable programs to the Haitian people.
Eleven of this year’s participants live in New York City and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, while the other participants, including four Haitian dentists, live in Haiti. For the second year in a row, Tabasamu was blessed to partner with and be housed on the grounds of Partners in Health, an exceptional NGO that was founded by Paul Farmer and made famous in the bestseller Mountains Beyond Mountains.