My Experience on the PantaVida
As a retired dental hygienist, this was the trip I had been waiting for with a chance to share my love for Jesus and meeting the Medical/Dental/Optical needs of the people. I had so much to “give” to these people along the Paraguay River that they did not have access to. Little did I know that they would give me far more than I could ever give them.
I saw poverty that was shocking, yet these people had a joy that radiated from their faces. They had to “make-do” with what they had either from nature or what had been brought to them by boat. But appreciation and pride were evident by neatly kept areas and freshly swept dirt floors. The children had both their parents, one or both grandparents and all their siblings living on the same property. Never having to be put in daycare, with babysitters, or worse, left alone.
The ladies we met were curious about our lives as American women, wondering why and how we would be able to come on a trip like this.
One of my special memories was when Paula and I were cleaning teeth for two ladies and I was humming a Brazilian song I had sung with the children. Paula began singing “How Great Thou Art” and both ladies joined in singing in Portuguese. What a worshipful experience that was for us all! These precious people had so little from the material world but they had open hearts and a contentment that was inspiring.