She stood at the corner, far enough to look like she just happened to be passing by, except that she wasn't just passing, she had come with a purpose. They were a tattered looking pair. One older girl, maybe 21, though the stress on her face made her looked older. She clutched a baby to her chest. The younger girl was one I knew, a regular at our drop in center, but today she lacked her smile.
"Daughter," I called in Burmese, "come here."
She came. Her face grimaced in pain.
"Are you well?" I asked the two girls.
"No," The elder answered. "Her tooth is not good, and the baby is sick."
We peered into the girls mouth, her back molar was completely rotten.
It's moments like this where you need to be able to make split second decisions. These people had problems, and it would do nothing for them if I were to say, "Okay, I'll call a meeting this week and we'll get back to you next week."
"What can we do?" I looked up at the two Burmese speaking interns Compasio has recently hired. "Let's take them to Mae Tao Clinic."
The girl's tooth would have to be pulled, and no Thai hospital would take them. Mae Tao Clinic is free for anyone who comes.
We rode to the clinic. The woman and her baby sat behind me and she tightly gripped my waist, I wondered if she had ever been on a motorbike and I made sure to drive slowly as to not frighten her.
As we entered the clinic, I saw many people milling about, waiting for a chance to be seen, to be cared for. We approached the table and received cards. Esther and I went with the little girl while Daniel stayed with the woman and baby. We walked into the dentist area, and after taking a quick look at her teeth, the doctor told her to sit. Esther and I sat beside her while the man prepared the anesthesia. She gripped my hand tightly and tears escaped her eyes as the needle entered her cheek. After a few minutes the man returned and began to extract the rotten tooth. The girl cried and squeezed our hands even tighter. "It's okay! It's almost over! One more minute. You'll be okay." We reassured her with every word we could. The tooth came out, and she was done.
We returned and sat with Daniel and the sister.They knew they could come to us. I pondered to myself. I think that's really amazing. It must mean everything for these people who have virtually nothing, no one on their side to know that they can come to us with their needs.