Since 1989, Dayspring has sent medical and dental caravans to Tochimizolco, Mexico every year after Easter. Tochimizolco, also called Tochi, is located in central Mexico at the end of the road and at the base of the active volcano named Popocatepetl.
Each year, Dayspring joins with Grace UMC from Olathe, Kansas to provide medical and dental services to this community of less than 1,000 people. The team was originally called to serve after learning of the vision of an individual from Mexico who had a goal of providing sustainable healthcare in this remote village where the closest medical care was hours away by bus.
The first year, the team worked out of the homes of the local church members and in abandoned homes with dirt floors, providing basic medical and dental care. The villagers had never seen a dentist and did not know what to do with a toothbrush so the primary work of the dentists was to pull teeth.
Over the next few years, the team financed and assisted in the completion of the Methodist Church Sanctuary and a medical clinic with the majority of the construction being performed by the members of the local church.
Eventually, with the financial support of Dayspring and Grace UMC, a doctor was employed to provide services in the village 3 days per week all year long.
Today, the team continues to return each year to provide medical services as well as provide medications from a well-stocked pharmacy. In the dental clinic, the dentists still pull some teeth, but also fill cavities and dental hygienists clean teeth. Today, many people come in and only need their teeth cleaned.
Inside and outside the clinic you will find physicians, nurses, translators, dentists, dental hygienists, pharmacists and Mil Usos (one with many talents). If you look closely you will find people from Arizona, from Kansas, from Tochimizolco and from many parts of Mexico, working seamlessly together with a common Mission.
You will encounter trained health care workers from GYTTE or “Give Ye Them to Eat” program (also supported by Dayspring) providing education to the people waiting in line for the doctors and dentists, on topics such as nutrition, dental hygiene, safe food preparation and sanitation, first aid and ways to prevent lead poisoning.
You can find people testing vision and providing reading glasses, cleaning earwax and testing blood sugar; GYTTE youth running vacation bible school for dozens of children, a basketball game with team members and locals, people cooking, cleaning and all working together as the body of Christ.
The team typically treats 600 medical patients, 250 dental patients, dispenses reading glasses, and provides over 500 toothbrushes.
During the rest of the year the clinic is staffed by a doctor 3 days a week, and a dentist visits the village on Saturdays to provide continuity of care to the community.
Since the first caravan in 1989 we have served up to six generations of patients. Each year we return to be greeted by our old friends. We grieve over the ones that have passed over the year and we celebrate the birth of new community members. We see the children we saw in the early years grown up, some off to college and many having children of their own.
This mission would not be possible without the help of everyone from Dayspring. Although the team members pay their own expenses, Dayspring provides funding for medicines, vitamins and other medical supplies, individuals provide scholarships for team members, Dayspring Sunday School classes collect toothbrushes, prayer shawls are knitted, fly paper is donated and many prayers are provided.
Thank you, Dayspring, for making a difference!