Mission to Naha
An open-sided hut in the lush rain forest of southern Mexico is a long, long way in both miles and elegance from the new quarters of the H&S Philadelphia office. Last spring, librarian Dena Dannenberg accompanied her husband, Jim, on a unique mercy mission among the
Indians of the Selva Lancandon in the Mexican State of Chiapas.
Dentist Jim Dannenberg had always wished for the opportunity to treat people who might otherwise not be helped. When Senora Gertrude Duby Blom, explorer and photojournalism asked Jim If he might provide care for her special friends, the Lancandon Indians of the village of Naha, Jim and Dena began to plan what was to become an exciting and most unusual vacation.
After enduring the temper-taxing frustration and confusion of travel on various non-connecting airlines, a "spectacular" mountain taxi ride and a single-engine bush-plane trip to a grass airstrip in Naha, Jim and Dena were ready to set up their equipment.
As Dena recalls,"the camp consisted of a clearing in dense tropical jungle, with five open-sided, palm-thatched huts. When outfitted with hammocks or cots and mosquito netting, three of these became bedrooms. One was used for a kitchen and dining area, and one became the dental clinic and laboratory. All around towered giant trees hung with rope-like vines, palms of all sizes, enormous flowering begonias and other gigantic'house plants' growing wild."
The facilities in Dr. Dannenberg's "office" were nearly as primitive as the setting. The Indians had found a short chair somewhere. Poles were set at an angle into the earth floor of the hut and the chair was lashed to the poles with vines. Jim had brought along a portable head rest, which was attached to the back of the chair. Additional