The common response from YWAM Medical Ships – Australia’s (YWAM MSA) dental patients when asked what problems they’re having with their teeth is “pain.”
However for Augi, his reason for coming was something different.
Augi had recently become a pastor and lives in Meaogoma village. His motivation for starting his new profession was to help his community live happy and healthy lives.
However Augi’s teeth gave a different impression. After years of chewing betelnut, his teeth were left stained a browny-red colour; an obvious sign of a betelnut chewer.
Betelnut is a commonly used drug across Papua New Guinea. The nut mixed with lime and mustard seed produces a sticky red paste that gives the chewer a high – and leaves teeth stained. It can also lead to severe tooth decay and oral cancer.
Augi’s previous use of the drug left a permanent stain on his teeth that made him self-conscious. He had even tried scratching the stain off himself.
YWAM MSA volunteer dental hygienist, Gabrielle Lemos, was sympathetic toward Augi and offered to clean his teeth.
Half an hour later, Augi was leaving the dental clinic with a new lease on life.
“I have joy – now I can be an example to my village and my three children,”
“I’m relieved to have that part of my life behind me,” said Augi.