The Dearborn County Retired Teachers recently sent 65 children’s dresses, 10 mamma dresses and 27 pair of boys’ shorts to Brazil through Amazon Outreach, a nondenominational mission service group, reported Betty Bourquein, Batesville, Indiana Retired Teachers Association state public relations chair.
Jean Vaughan, Lawrenceburg, retired teachers’ state award-winning pillowcase dress project co-chair, recently met Della Menchhofer, Versailles, in Batesville to take the outfits to the 4 million people living along the Amazon River from Manaus to Parintins, Brazil. Vaughan also shared the pillowcase dress pattern and offered lots of lace and notions for the project.
This year, the team of 15-20 mission volunteers will be working with the Smile Train, a group of doctors specializing in the cleft lip/cleft palette.
Menchhofer has been going on the mission trip for the last 17 years. Originally urged to join by her former college roommate, she continues each year on the short-term trip where she serves as a nurse to the medical team. Taking only three outfits and the clothes she wears, she packs each of her two pieces of luggage with 50 pounds of clothes, flip flops, vitamins and other over-the-counter medicines.
Her pride in the work of the mission is most evident when she talks of the man with the terribly ulcerated foot whom they were able to save. She has worked with patients as young as seven days old. Life expectancy in the jungle is 56 years old.
People from the surrounding villages walk one hour to get to the medical boat on the river. Then they wait in line for an hour to be seen by the doctor and another hour to receive their over-the-counter medicines. Of course, it takes yet another hour to return home.
In addition to supplying the villages with clothing, volunteers teach Bible school lessons, build wells for fresh water, leave a little supply of gasoline for the occasional generator and build simple playgrounds for the children.
Volunteers who would like to help with the dress making can contact Vaughan at 812-926-1978.
For additional information about the mission, please contact Menchhofer at 812-689-5193.