Copyright 2021 - Bem Vindo

smiles 2017 1

Once again, the year’s highlight was the visit of a team of dentists from the Spanish NGO ‘SMILES’. This time, the line-up included Dr Heinz-Oliver Siebelist and five colleagues. Apart from a few minor changes, they stuck to the strategy and route that had proved successful the previous year. As before, the team began their work here in Tarrafal (69 patients, 100 extractions); then they took a one-hour boat trip by sea to Monte Trigo (17 patients, 20 fillings, 14 extractions), and then on to Bolona

(27 patients, 59 extractions). The weekend was dedicated to fun and relaxation – this included a surfing competition held in Vila das Pombas – and on Sunday evening they travelled to the remote mountain villages around Tope de Corõa (across the range of hills beyond Tarrafal). The second part of the assignment kicked off in Ribeira das Patas where, based in the local secondary school, they spent two successive days treating 181 patients overall, pulling 420 teeth and carrying out four fillings. In Alto Mira, 54 patients were seen (87 extractions), with 47 patients treated (86 extractions) in Ribeira da Cruz. This year, the village of Chã de Norte was added to the itinerary, and here 15 patients yielded 33 pulled teeth …


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The overall statistics: 410 patients, 27 fillings, 799 extractions. 


It’s worth noting that villagers in the rural parts of Santo Antãos

generally have no access to dental care, and certainly not to tooth-conserving treatment. A visit to the dentist means a trip to the nearest town and paying dental fees – a ‘luxury’ hardly anyone can afford. Combined with a frequent lack of knowledge of oral hygiene, this means the response to toothache is usually “have it out” – although even this solution may be avoided on cost grounds. The SMILES dentists do try to conserve problem teeth, especially in children, but the first priority is to perform the many extractions that are necessary or advisable. Another focus this year was on teaching children about dental hygiene in an entertaining way. In Tarrafal and Ribeira das Patas, they held an information session with fun, games and small presents. Looking ahead to the next few years, there are two main ‘issues pending’: tooth-preserving treatment, and prosthetics. We hope to be able to put some ideas into practice soon.


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Before the six-strong team headed off to the other side of the island after working for five days in Tarrafal, Monte Trigo and Bolona, I asked the dentists to share a few words about their time with us. This is what they wrote: 


smiles 2017 oliver estefaniaHeinz-Oliver Siebelist, 39, Ericeira / Portugal

even wrote a little poem (which sadly loses the rhyme in translation!):

Tarrafal, Bolona e Monte Trigo

levo-vos sempre no coração comigo!

(Tarrafal, Bolona und Monte Trigo – I will always carry them in my heart!)


Estafania Regal Trasancos, 29, Viveiro / Spain

Thank you for the opportunity to help – and with such lovely people, by which I mean both the Cape Verdeans and my travel companions. A highlight for me was how keen the children are to learn.



smiles 2017 eduardo.stefania

Eduardo Rueda Garcia, 42, Madrid / Spain

It was a pleasure for me to share my time with people who themselves have so much happiness to share. And in this paradise-like setting!










smiles 2017 leonor lenaLeonor Limão, 23, Lisbon / Portugal

Being in Tarrafal means feeling at home, and being here and helping means learning to be happy. I’m so grateful! I’d love to have had a lot more time and opportunities to make a difference. I’m definitely going to be back!


Elena Isabel Sanchez Martin-Sanceda, 37, Lajares / Spain

This place is like a piece of paradise where nature dictates the rhythms of life. We can learn a lot from this way of living, and here we can become conscious of its benefits. Thank you to the village community and the people who have appreciated our work and made sure we felt at home.


smiles 2017 leonor pabloPablo Gomeza Urizar, 37, Madrid / Spain

We’ve received so much in return for what we gave! The people’s hospitality made it feel like a home away from home. I’d be delighted to come back again and again and help ‘build a whole mountain from many tiny grains of sand!’




Plenty more information, impressions and photos of the SMILES dental team’s 2017 working holiday on Santo Antão can be viewed at and


Ambitech, Lda - Informática & Papelaria


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Mar Tranquilidade


Mar Tranquilidade was launched in October 1999 in the quiet area of Tarrafal de Monte Trigo,

a perfect space to stay. Apartments with thatched roofs or tile , surrounded by an acacia grove. Interspersed with leafy gardens , terraces, balconies and beautiful views. A cozy place that offers quiet places to relax.


The Jeanine Vahldiek Band


The "Jeanine Vahldiek Band ", these are Jeanine Vahldiek and Steffen Haß.

His music, which is dominated by the harp concert 2.10m height Jeanine, and various Steffen percussion instruments, you can hear live in concert on Internet or CD with his third CD " Blank Canvas ", published in December 2014, support the DaM - with € 1 from each CD sold .



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