Months of preparation are made in advance of each Quechua Benefit trip. Fueled by generous donations from alpaca breeders across the U.S., Quechua Benefit directors work year-round, planning each trip down to the last detail before the all-volunteer team embarks.
Once in Peru, traveling from one village to the next, team members unload truckloads of equipment, food and supplies. In less than one hour they turn an empty room into a make-shift dental clinic with two dental stations. Three dentists alternately perform triage, administer anesthetics and pull teeth, while other members act as dental assistants, sterilize instruments, distribute blankets, shoes and tooth brushes and keep the seemingly endless line of patients moving.
Although the goal is to work quickly and treat as many patients as possible each day, every member of the Quechua benefit team understands that there is always time to comfort a frightened child or calm a concerned parent. Language barriers are eroded by hugs and handshakes. Whole conversations take place in the smiles exchanged between strangers who are now friends.