Friday, November 18, 2011


Last week we gathered the supplies for 1600 dental hygiene kits.  Colgate tooth paste, brushes, plastic cups and bags.  Before a Humanitarian project can be done a plan is conceived by the local Church Public Affairs Committee.  The budget is prepared and submission is made to the Area Office for approval.  We submitted our proposal to do a dental hygiene project with three primary schools (grades 1 through 5) here in Honiara.  One school within the boundaries of each Branch here in Honiara.  Our submission was on October 27th and approval was given on November 1st with a proposed date of November 14th.  It was rushed through so we could complete it prior to Elder Hamula's visit when he comes to organise the first Solomon Island District.
Cheryle unpacking 1600 tooth brushes

Ken unpacking 1600 tooth pastes

The first of 1600 dental hygiene kits

Last Friday we gathered the last of our supplies and Saturday morning the members came and helped assemble the kits.  We wrote an article about the project for the paper and delivered it Monday,   This is the article ran Tuesday in the Solomon Star, the same day we actually took the kits to the school children.

Newspaper article printed in Solomon Star 15 November 2011


1,500 children from three local primary schools will be taught dental hygiene and provided with a kit containing a tooth brush, tooth paste and a cup today by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Members of the Church in Honiara put on their helping hands vests and assembled the kits Saturday morning. 

This humanitarian project is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Humanitarian Fund.  For many years the Church has been actively involved in humanitarian relief and development activities throughout the world.  These include emergency relief assistance in times of disaster and humanitarian programs that strengthen the self-reliance of individuals, families, and communities. 

All humanitarian projects are funded by donations from Church members and others.  One-hundred percent of these donations go directly to help the poor and needy. 

(article end)

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early and at Lungga Primary School ready to go before the bell rang.

Dr. Ellison Vane, Edward Katovai, Elder Mitchell, and Pres. Misitana at Lungga School

We coordinated with Dr. Ellison Vane, the Supervising Director of Dental Services for the Solomon Islands and they agreed to do the dental hygiene training.  Edward Katovai, the dental hygienist for the Solomon Islands, stayed with us all day and taught dental hygiene to each group of students.  He was great, had the children in the palm of his hand as he taught them how to brush their teeth, why it is so important, and what type of brush and toothpaste to use.  He also taught them of the problems of chewing betel nut.  At least 50% of the population chew betel nut which is a green nut that grows on one type of palm tree here.  They mix other substances with it and chew it like chewing tobacco.  It has some of the same results, causing mouth and throat cancer, gum disease and turns teeth, gums and lips an awful bright orange-red color.  

Children at Lungga School listening intently to Edward Katovai teach them dental hygiene

Excited girls with their dental kits

The head mistress was very pleased with our project and invited us back next year.

Excited young men at Lungga School with their brushes and paste

Then it was on to Green Valley Primary School

Edward giving instruction at Green Valley School

Excited Green Valley students under the school with their dental hygiene kits
The Head Mistress at Green Valley School was so happy with what we did that she invited the missionaries to come and provide a spiritual devotional to the children periodically.

On to White River to a little more primitive setting.  This assembly hall is called a leaf house and is quite common here on the Island.

Head Master giving instructions at White River Primary School

Children at White River School excited to get their brushes and paste

Sarah Taikanoa with White River Headmaster and teachers

President Misitana thanking members for their help with the project after we were done

Members and missionaries who helped with the Humanitarian Project

Members wore their Mormon Helping Hands Vests and worked side by side with the missionaries.  Each Head Mistress or Head Master was presented a Book of Mormon as a thank you for allowing us to come by the missionaries.

After Edward had instructed the children at one of the schools to use tooth paste that contained fluoride and explained what the fluoride would do for their teeth, one of the members that had helped us, turned to Cheryle and said, "what is fluoride?"  Then a little later she said, "I used to brush my teeth".

Just yesterday we had some school children wave and smile at us and indicate they knew we had been at their school earlier in the week.  When we visited the television station yesterday, one of the employees asked if it was us that had given the tooth brushes and paste to the school children in Lungga.  He said he had seen children with the kits on their way home and asked them where they had got them and they told him it was us.

It was a great day and we feel so blessed to have been part of it.  As we came home we felt the Spirit of the Lord very strongly and talked together of what a good day we had  experienced.  This has been one of the highlights of our mission.

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