Wirkini Water Reservoir is Full

 Wirkini Water Reservoir is Full

The Wirkini water reservoir, March 2017.

The Wirkini water reservoir, March 2017.

Mano a Mano’s water reservoir in Wirkini, Bolivia – completed in October 2016 – is completely full of water right now and almost ready to overflow. The current levels are especially impressive considering that the community has already received multiple releases of water, and that Bolivia is in the midst of a drought.

Video: Wirkini Community Talks About Their New Water Reservoir

Learn more about the project here, where Wirkini residents talk about the impact the reservoir has for them.

Shop Amazon Smile Today and Donate 5% to Mano Mano

Shop Amazon Smile Today and Donate 5% to Mano Mano

Amazon is celebrating its #1 ranking in customer satisfaction by the ACSI! Today, March 16, Amazon will donate 5% (10 times the usual donation rate) of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to Mano A Mano International Partners. Get started at smile.amazon.com/ch/41-1796971.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Lori Wedeking

Volunteer Spotlight: Lori Wedeking

During her professional career, Lori Wedeking worked for decades at the Minnesota Department of Health, and as a teacher at Winona State and Metro State’s nursing colleges. More recently she’s been a stalwart Mano a Mano volunteer, undertaking research on Bolivian health issues, but also taking up other necessary tasks, such as sorting medical supplies and staffing the inventory table when shipping containers get loaded. Here’s why she finds her volunteer work so important. 

Lori Wedeking, in the Mano a Mano Warehouse in St. Paul, MN

Lori Wedeking, in the Mano a Mano Warehouse in St. Paul, MN

How did you get started with Mano a Mano?

It was 2003 or 2004. I heard about Mano a Mano at church. For many years I helped out by sorting medical supplies on Friday afternoons.

Eventually I dropped out of that because the adults weren’t there any more. It was university students. And I thought, every day I was with students. It wasn’t that much of a change for me. After I retired I found out that Mano a Mano needed somebody to do research. I met with [Mano a Mano co-founder] Joan Velasquez and she gave me many questions to write papers about. Soil, climate change. Things like that. After the move to Pierce Butler I started to work again on Soup and Sort days. And then last year I took a 1,500 paper donor list and digitized the information for them.

Now I’m back to writing research papers again for Joan. Now I’m working on a paper about infectious diseases in the Department of Beni. It’s about leishmaniasis, malaria, yellow fever, TB, and how they effect particularly the people who live in Beni.

Why do you find the work satisfying?

When I was a public health nurse I learned you can’t change people; you have to work with what they’ll do to change themselves. Mano a Mano asks people what they need. They work on what people think they need rather than being Americans who come in and say, ‘Okay, this is what we’re going to do for you.’ Mano a Mano listens to what people need rather than telling them what they need. That’s important to me.

Residents of the Wirkini communty attending a meeting with Mano a Mano - which are held throughout the planning and construction process - at the site of the reservoir.

Residents of the Wirkini communty attending a meeting with Mano a Mano – which are held throughout the planning and construction process – at the site of their water reservoir.

Mano a Mano asks people what they need. They work on what people think they need rather than being Americans who come in and say, ‘Okay, this is what we’re going to do for you.’ Mano a Mano listens to what people need rather than telling them what they need. That’s important to me.

Plus, the work keeps me busy. I have rights to research libraries, so I can get journals without having to pay for it. I have skills and resources that help Mano a Mano that way. I understand science. Or I learn. That helps. And I can translate the information so other people can understand it. It’s good to help people who need help — to do what they need rather than me telling them what they need.

This interview and article were written by Mano a Mano volunteer Anthony Schmitz.

More Mano a Mano Volunteer Spotlights

Below are a few more interviews with Mano a Mano volunteers that are so crucial to everything that we do. Are you interested in getting involved? Please contact us!

Thanks Volunteers!

Thanks Volunteers!

Video: Wirkini Community Talks About Their New Water Reservoir

Video: Wirkini Community Talks About Their New Water Reservoir

Mano a Mano completed a new water reservoir in Wirkini, Bolivia in October 2016, and the residents are excited for the possibilities that it brings to help them improve their yields, plant more crops, and ultimately improve their lives.

Video Credit: William Wroblewski

Mano a Mano Water Projects

The Wirkini project joins Mano a Mano’s 8 other large-scale water retention projects that benefit 131,062 people throughout Bolivia (51,062 directly). Our first water reservoir was built in Ucuchi, Bolivia in 2005 (this reservoir is the other project featured in the video) and has been consistently providing water to the community for more than a decade, even in times of drought like Bolivia is currently experiencing. We are expecting the Wirkini reservoir to work as well as the Ucuchi reservoir, for many years to come.

It Takes Many People Working Together To Build These Projects

Each of these projects is a huge effort, involving the community, their municipal government, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo, and many other supporters. Without the commitment of so many people, none of these projects would be possible!

A local woman works on the Wirkini reservoir - almost everybody pitches in!

A local woman works on the Wirkini reservoir – almost everybody pitches in!