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Dr. Bill, Marilyn Dunbar share dental skills in Haiti

Marilyn and Dr. Bill Dunbar stand with nursing student Bony Lepatient Romulus and his mother at the location of where their house used to be before it was leveled by the 2010 earthquake. Bony’s neighbors raised enough money ($500) so he could live at the school and eat at its nutritional program.

On Sunday, Oct. 15, Dr. Bill and Marilyn Dunbar returned from a nine-day dental mission trip to Haiti. The trip, organized through the Haiti Nursing Foundation and NurseTim (run by Dr. Tim Bristol of Waconia), had a two-fold mission — to teach nurses dental care and practice dental care in the communities of Haiti.
“He (Dr. Bristol) approached me about going down to do dentistry,” said Bill Dunbar. “So we went last March on a scouting trip and I said I’d do it under one condition — that we teach the nurses how to clean teeth and do some simple temporary dentistry until I can get back there again. He agreed with it, so for this trip we gathered up a bunch of equipment and brought it down there. We spent a lot of time teaching and practicing dentistry at the same time.”
The mission team — made up of 17 people — stayed and worked in Leogane at the Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti, otherwise known as FSIL, which is ranked as the top nursing school in the country and is operated and funded by the Haiti Nursing Foundation.
Many of the Dunbars’ team members were nurse educators who worked with the nursing students, although there was also a group of construction workers (called the Alpha Team), who spent its stay building three tables for a nearby orphanage.
The team stayed in the FSIL’s guest house for its trip. The money guests pay to stay in the living facility goes directly to the nursing students’ tuition so “it’s like you’re sponsoring kids when you stay there,” explained Bill Dunbar.
For more about the mission trip, read the Nov. 1 print edition of The Chronicle.