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The poverty was shocking. Nothing in Connecticut prepared Trumbull resident Dr. Gregory Mokotoff for the reality of life in a remote area of Guatemala, where the Trumbull dentist recently spent a week volunteering in a dental clinic. He and nine other dentists along with a handful of assistants were up at dawn to catch a 7 a.m. bus to a clinic, where they spent the next 12 hours treating as many as 150 patients each day.
“It’s overwhelming,” Mokotoff said Monday, a few weeks after his return from the Esquipulas, a town of about 60,000 about a six-hour drive from Guatemala City. “There are people living in fields. Families living under tarps in garbage dumps, scavenging whatever they can sell. Survival for many of these people is a day-to-day struggle. They are as poor as poor gets.”