Leaving the Masai Mara Smiling
Since its establishment in 1998, besides creating unforgettable safari experiences for our guests, Basecamp Explorer Kenya has been committed to transforming lives through tourism. From the beginning, Basecamp has partnered with the Maasai to put in place different programs that will help improve the well-being of the members of the community. Most sources of water in the Masai Mara have high fluoride levels well beyond those fit-for-consumption guidelines, whereas low fluoride doses strengthen and protect the tooth enamel, it is important to note that excessive fluoride levels can cause health issues such as fluorosis which causes discoloration of the teeth, the formation of white marks on the teeth, a mottled enamel, and low mineralization which is the case for many in this community.
In 2018, Jim Hardwick and Jody Goodman Hardwick traveled to Kenya from America to experience a Basecamp safari in Masai Mara after bidding on the safari at the 2017 Up With People Gala. It was during their safari when Jim saw some small medical clinics and he asked if dentists ever came to the village because he saw the need. To Jim and Jody, this once-in-a-lifetime safari was a life-changing experience. The resulting connection to the Masai people led to a partnership with Basecamp Explorer which focused on bringing dental teams to the region.
From 2019 Basecamp Explorer Kenya in collaboration with the Hardwick Foundation has hosted free dental clinics to provide treatment to the Talek community in Masai Mara to bring healthy, beautiful, and confident smiles to the local people in Talek. Last year the clinic was a huge success, with a significant number of people attending and receiving the necessary treatments, a total of 261 patients both young and old were attended to and 979 procedures including x-rays, extractions, fillings, hygiene cleaning, and silver diamine to arrest tooth decays were conducted. These were more than just numbers, seeing the smiles from the patients was priceless.
This was the third time Basecamp Explorer Kenya & Basecamp Explorer Foundation in partnership with Hardwick Foundation was offering FREE Dental Care to the Maasai Community in Talek at the Enjoolata Centre in Basecamp Masai Mara. Hardwick Foundation managed to raise funds for equipment and supplies to set up an entire dental clinic.
Over the 4 days, the dental clinic greatly contributed to alleviating dental pain and put back smiles to many of the community members in Masai Mara. With a resounding success, the statistics speak for themselves and The Hardwick Dental Project has established a name in Masai Mara. During the 4 clinic days with 14 team members, 314 people were treated and 1,076 procedures were performed. From X-rays, extractions, fillings, dental hygiene cleanings, CEREC crowns to silver diamine fluoride applications to stop cavities and administering pulp cap nerve medicines to serve those who do not have dental insurance or can’t afford the cost of a dental exam but need oral care in the Talek area.
The highlight of this year’s clinic was the ability for the dentist to use A CEREC® machine for dental patients to have their crowns generated and placed in one dental appointment. During the clinic 4 dental crowns were generated and patients got their teeth restored.
Summary as below
X-rays = 244
Fillings = 85
Extractions = 197
CEREC Crowns = 4
Pulp Cap nerve medicines = 4
Dental hygiene cleanings = 126
Silver diamine fluoride applications to arrest active cavities = 126
Total procedures= 1076!!