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Kennett heading off to Bolivia

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Former Devlin resident Tana Kennett is getting everything in place these days to fly to Bolivia, South America with a team of five others to provide dental care to people who have never had it before.

Making up the team will be Tana, who is presently attending the University of Manitoba, Dr. Ron Boyar (a professor at the U. of M.), another dentist, a hygienist, and two dental hygiene students.

The team will be gone for two weeks, leaving Feb. 8 and returning Feb. 21.

It will take them five flights—and three days—to reach their destination. They’ll first fly from Winnipeg to Toronto, then on to Sao Paulo, Brazil. From Sao Paulo, they’ll fly to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, then to Cochabamba, Bolivia, and finally to Trinidad, Bolivia.

Tana and the team will stay in Trinidad—the poorest city in Bolivia—for a couple of days to get their supplies ready, then take a small open boat to get to a houseboat.

The houseboat then will take them up the Mamray River in order to get to isolated villages.

Tana will be mostly doing local anesthetic, injections, and extractions of teeth.

The team will sleep and eat on the houseboat. A cook accompanies them and makes Bolivian cuisine. They will drink water from the muddy river (it is boiled first, but Tana still wrinkles her face at the thought of this).

They will sleep under bug nets to reduce their chances of contracting malaria. They also have to take anti-malaria pills, along with yellow fever, Hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vaccinations, which they already have received.

The group will learn a little bit of Spanish (at least dental terms) to work with the people receiving care.

Tana will be able to miss two weeks of her dental hygiene course at the U. of M. because she is incorporating this educational endeavour into two major community health outreach projects, which normally are done in Winnipeg.

She is busy with preparations for both the trip itself and her school work, and she will be giving a presentation to the U. of M. when she returns.

Tana’s trip costs $3,000 (the air fare alone is $2,200 alone). As such, she’s been doing fundraising. Anyone wishing to donate to the cause can call her at 1-204-478-1518, or e-mail her at tanakennett@hotmail.com

Her address is 24C Roslyn Rd., Winnipeg, Man., R3L 0G4.

Dr. Boyar goes to Bolivia to provide dental care twice a year, and he has a Web site set up with pictures from previous trips at www.nds.ca

Congratulations, Tana, from your community of family and friends for this undertaking. We’re proud of you.

I’m sure your mom, Tammy, will be relieved once you’re back home.

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