Monday, July 13, 2020

Sheltering in place...

Dear friends...

It's been awhile since we have posted here, but we wanted to post our most recent newsletter so that you can see what's happening with us during these crazy sheltering-in-place times.

We hope you are all safe and healthy...please try and keep that way.
Love and blessings, Dan and Donna Letton

Thursday, November 14, 2019

We are now cleaning teeth!

For a couple of years, we have been looking for a portable dental unit that we could use to clean and fill teeth. If we found one, we didn't have the money for it and if we had the money, we couldn't find what we needed. This past spring, a couple who works in central Nicaragua came to visit our church in Bluefields. They got to talking to Dan, and he told them about the dental work up river. They immediately said that they had a portable dental unit that they were no longer using. All we had to do was to come and get it!

So in August, our wonderful dentist, Dr. Vania Sevilla taught 5 people how to do teeth cleaning. They practiced on the people in our church which made everyone happy. In October, we took our first trip doing both cleaning and pulling teeth. It was great...there was so much activity on the boat. 

There were three people from Pennsylvania who had actually raised the funds for the trip that came along. One was a nurse, who got on-the-job training on pulling teeth and a young lady who is a Spanish speaker who played with the children while their parents were waiting on the dentist. We went to only one village this time, but had 3 days of clinic. We were able to service 127 people and handed out dozens of Bibles.

Street seafood market in Bluefields. Delvis, our cook (on the right), shopping for the trip.

Chillin' along the river

Lunch Break...and what wonderful food we had!

Shelsy using her newly acquired teeth.

Some patients waited all day in the rain to be treated.......

Kara, a nurse, (on the right) and Mariana with new friends. The little girl on the left wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Whenever we come to her village she is always out on the dock waiting for us.

Aaron, is taking a turn at cleaning teeth. (Newly donated dental unit in the background).

Dra. Sevia, assisted by Mellissa who is a local nurse.

This is one way to get a horse across the river, and actually, the most common way to do it.

More friends...

Cafribbean Grace at Pueblo Nuevo dock

Dra. Sevia and Mariana with a crowd looking on.

Lunch break in the main cabin...Dra. Sevilla is trying to cool off.

Dra. Sevilla and Delvis...Two tired but happy workers

What a great team this was...though they didn't all know each other before the trip, they worked together as if they had been friends for years ... working together to help those in need.

If you would like to help finance a trip in 2020, you can make a donation through Global Outreach at account #1056.

Each trip costs approximately $3000. This includes fuel, food, dental supplies, medications and staff wages.

Thanks for reading our blog.... please pass it on.

Dan and Donna Letton

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Local Team Takes Shape...

There were a lot of firsts... 

A 6-day trip...our longest.
A team of nine...the biggest crew yet.
Four women...first time to have women along.
Two from the States...the first time with foreigners.

Our dentists were both Nicaraguan as well as our nurse. The two girls from the States were EMTs. We went to three communities, Haulover, Orinoco, and Pueblo Nuevo and saw a total of 216 patients...the team worked hard and blessed a lot of people.

At one point during the trip, Dan looked around and saw everyone happily working...doing their specific jobs and he thought, "This is just how I envisioned it." Dr. Sevilla and Dr. Leon have been such a blessing and seeing them eager to serve their own people has further encouraged us in developing a local team. We now have a pool of twelve people from which to draw...for piloting the boat, cooking meals, triaging and treating patients, and doing a host of other duties. 

To have local team members, funds are needed. These doctors and medical workers, as well as the crew, have to take time from their normal jobs and we feel that it is only right to compensate them. 

Here are some specific ways that you can support this ministry:
  • $15. pays for dental care for one patient.
  • $50. pays a doctor's salary for one day.
  • $400. pays for one day...medical staff, food, fuel, medical supplies and crew. (Most trips are 4 to 5 days.)
Donations can be sent to Global Outreach, account number 4448

Here are a few pictures from this latest trip...

Our female crew: Ashanti Cash, R.N., Dr. Vania Sevilla, dentist, Beth and Martha, EMTs

Our two dentists: Dr. Jesse Leon and Dr. Vania Sevilla

It's almost impossible to keep the kids off the boat...we are like a magnet for them.

"Captain Adorable"

Ashanti organizing instruments and getting ready for the day's clinic.

Our chef made sure we ate well. Here we are in the main cabin which serves many functions.

The city dock at Orinoco...people were waiting for us when we got there.

Dr. Leon usually likes to work in the cockpit, but it was raining.

Dr. Sevilla ended up working on this man for over an hour.

The EMTs did triage in the cockpit while others patiently waited their turn.

They had a pediatric blood pressure cuff that calmed and entertained the kids.

Beth with a baby and her new toothbrush.

Sunset over Pearl Lagoon.

Entering the Wawashan River

Motoring up the river to the next stop, Pueblo Nuevo.

Arriving at Pueblo Nuevo,.. our first time here.

Dockside clinic...

It was Market Day so there were plenty of people in town to see the dentist.

Dr. Leon back in his favorite work space...

A local beauty...


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our blog space. Please pray for the ministry here. Caribbean Grace is under the umbrella of our local fellowship, Verbo Christian Church. 

Blessings, Dan and Donna Letton

We would love to hear from you!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

3 trips in 2 weeks

Orinoco ... Dory Sail boat race ... Fishing with Casa Bernabe

Orinoco ... The first medical trip

On the first trip upriver, Dan met a young local dentist practicing in the coastal town of Pearl Lagoon. Dr. Leon was very excited about the possibility of taking his skill as a dentist to other small communities. So they picked him up on the way up river to Orinoco and Marshal Point. The team was small: Dan, Robert and Wibur as captains, Dr. Leon, Orlando who is a nurse, and Sixto who is a deacon in our local church. From the very beginning the team worked together, everyone finding their niche.

They headed out on a Monday morning, May 22nd and returned on Thursday afternoon. Here are some pictures and details of the trip.

Caribbean Grace docked at Marshall Point

 People waiting patiently to see the dentist...some waited all day long.

 Dr. Leon working ... mostly pulling teeth (120 teeth in two days!).

  On the second day they set up shop in the cockpit because the cabin was too hot. The nice breeze made both the patients (70 in all) and the doctor much more comfortable.

Dr. Leon giving out toothbrushes and toothpaste. 
He made them promise to brush their teeth 3 times a day!

The galley crew...Sixto and Orlando

Gathering around the table after a long day's work...

Dory Sailboat Race...

As part of the Maypole festivities in Bluefields, there is always a dory sailboat race. This year we took a group of 20 from the church to anchor out in the bay and watch the race. It was a rainy, cloudy day, but we enjoyed the fellowship, the race and even got to do a little fishing ...

 The group assembled and ready for a great day...

 The boats are owned by local fishermen who get people and businesses to sponsor them.

Everyone gets new sails for the race..

 It was a pretty choppy day, but they were all expert sailors.

 Kevin's catch...the "big one" got away.

 Pastor Ed

Miss Margaret's first time fishing and first catch!

Gizzy's catch was one of the biggest

Fishing with Casa Bernabe...

Saturday we took 14 kids from Casa Bernabe, the children's home, out in the bay to do a little fishing. For many of them it was their first time on a boat or their first time fishing. Trying to get them to follow some basic boating rules (i.e. no running, hold on, always wear your life jacket) was challenging...but there were no mishaps and all the kids had a great time. 

Loaded up and ready to go

 The best part of the life jacket for Tygy was the whistle and the light!

 Robert and Wilbur have become a great captain team

 The kids loved riding on the bow

 Richard and Darell...two very determined fishermen

 Cooling off on the stern deck

 Jaquelin caught 3 fish!

Ingrid wanted to take her fish home and eat it...Donna fried it up that afternoon.

 Several of the boys took turns stearing the boat...Darell's face tells it all!

 Tired but happy...on the way home.

After making several trips up-river, we have become convinced that to get the best use out of Caribbean Grace, we need to involve local medical people. They know the area, the people, the problems, and the languages (there are at least 5 in the region) and they are eager to help their own.

The biggest problem is that most of them can't afford to leave their practices, even for a few days, without some financial compensation. We are starting a fund at Global Outreach to cover the costs of salaries, medical supplies and trip costs. 

If you are interested in investing in the sponsorship of a local doctor/dentist or an entire team, please indicate "funds for local medical teams" with your payment.

Cost estimates:
doctor salary: $50/day
4-day trip approximate cost: $600;

We thank you for your interest, your encouragement, and your support. We are excited about what the Lord will do with this boat in the near future...

Blessings, Dan and Donna Letton