The Project Embera
The Camacho Dental Association had the privilege to meet and live together with an Emberá indigenous community settled by the Chagres River in Panama.
The Emberá indigenous group are one of the native peoples of the American continent. They have their own language and keep their culture and customs alive, with a strong sense of nationality. Their total population is around 83,000 and they live mostly in Panama and the Pacific side of Colombia. This are a riverine people, historically building their houses along the banks of rivers. This riverine lifestyle they chose many times forces them to live inside national parks, or in isolated jungle territories; places where modern health treatments are very hard to get.
In the encounter with the community we soon realized their lack in modern services and a strong necessity for Dental treatment. The Camacho Dental Association then decided to provide the community with means for Dental Hygiene and finding ways to provide the treatment they needed. The C.D.A. volunteers lived inside the Chagres national park to find not just one, but eight different communities along the same river side, formed by around eighty people each, many in need of Dental treatment.
In order to begin solving the problem, the group of volunteers gave out free tooth brushes to every member of each community. While providing them with an educational course on Dental Hygiene Techniques and the importance it has for their health.
The amount of Dental cavities in the population was especially worrying amongst the children. Mostly due to the fact that when different tourist groups visit, they give out candy and sweets to these kids that lack Dental Hygiene and did not own or had seen a tooth brush until our encounter.
The Camacho Dental Association considers this situation unsustainable and is currently working on ways to improve the health on these communities.
The Embera , Êbêra or Épera , also called crashed , are a Native American people inhabiting some areas of the Pacific coast and adjacent areas of Colombia , Panama eastern and northwestern Ecuador . They are about 70 thousand people (2004 ) . Embera Katío are known as those who dwell in the high Sinu and San Jorge River high , department of Cordoba and Uraba ; in Colombia , Embera Chami those living in the Western and Central Cordilleras of the Colombian Andes, Antioquia, Caldas , Risaralda , Quindio and Valle ; Chocoes or simply Emberá to those who inhabit the Baudo river basins and low San Juan, municipalities Istmina , Alto Baudo and Pizarro ; the Curiche river , municipality of Juradó in Choco ( Colombia ) ; and the Embera – Wounaan and Embera Darien Drua in the district of Panama ( Panama ) ; and as Eperara Siapidaara or epená , to the Pacific coast of the departments of Valle, Cauca and Nariño in Colombia .