By Padre Spencer

Yesterday I went to visit Jensy, the 25-year-old woman who grew up in Our Little Roses, and became a dentist.  She lives in the transitional home, where the girls go after they graduate and begin working.  A safe house in the real world.  At the transitional home one girl works in a call center (where irate Americans complain about not getting their newspapers on time) and another is studying engineering.  

Jensy preparing for cleaning teeth.
Jensy's story is inspiring.  She arrived in the home when she was 9 years old and her single mother was dying of cancer.  The mother would come to visit them as her cancer progressed.  She never would like to say goodbye to her daughters so she would always tell them to go get her a glass a water, and as the girls obeyed the mother would disappear out the front metal gate. Three months later her mother died.  The home buried her mother in a graveyard nearby.  All the girls attended.  When she speaks of her time in the home, the day of that funeral, her face lights up with joy and her bright smile with perfect teeth is accompanied by one beautiful dimple.  I asked about her one dimple.  She said her mother had the same thing.  Just one dimple.

It took her seven years and a great deal of perseverance to become a dentist. She worked impossible hours: waking at five, taking care of girls in the home, going to school, putting the girls to bed and then doing her homework into the night.  Today she fixes all the teeth for all the girls in the home: fillings, cleanings, root canals.  Her desire to be a dentist came in part from being a child in the home, having dental problems and not easy access to good dental care.  Her office is two little rooms, three blocks from the home.  Jensy applied and was interviewed for a competitive graduate program in Guatemala for two years where she’ll be learning about implants and other cosmetic dental procedures.  

Jensy cleans the teeth of a girl from Our Little Roses at her dental clinic.
I went to her yesterday to have her clean my teeth, whereupon it was discovered I had a cracked filling.  Two hours later I had a new filling in my tooth, untended it most certainly would have gotten worse.  I was grateful.  I said to her in Spanish: Estoy agradecido contigo; I am grateful for you, literally the Spanish translates as I am grateful with you.  And that sounded more accurate, I was grateful with her.  Having my teeth fixed right along with the girls made me start to feel a part of this community.  Teeth are curious things.  You can cap them and whiten them like they do in Hollywood.  Many Hondurans, Jensy told me, don’t take care of their teeth and by the time most men are my age (forty nine), they’ve lost half their teeth.  For example, the man driving us around town, has lost most of his molars and has currently six cavities he’s not attending to.  Teeth identify us.  A person can be identified through dental records.  No teeth, no identification.  My new Honduran filling identifies me more now with this place. Last year I had an implant in Madrid.  My teeth are becoming a map of my working life around the globe.

Last night, the film crew interviews Jensy and the girls at the transitional home.  The girls  are sad to see Jensy go.  She’ll have a few vacations.  It will be her first time, she tells us, that she will have her own apartment.  She smiles.  Her dimple becomes pronounced.  

Jensy with girls from the Our Little Roses transition home.
Spencer, crew and girls on pizza night at the transition home.