Alternative Gifts Catalog: Recycle to Equip a Hospital

Alternative Gifts Catalog: Recycle to Equip a Hospital

Mano a Mano has participated in the Alternative Gifts International Catalog for more than a decade. Our project this year is focusing on sending much-needed medical supplies and equipment to health organizations in Bolivia’s remote tropics regions.

Screenshot of Mano a Mano's project in the Alternative Gifts Catalog. Go to the project page here.

Screenshot of Mano a Mano’s project in the Alternative Gifts Catalog. Go to the project page here.

About Alternative Gifts

From the Alternative Gifts website:

“The gifts offered in the ”Gifts Inspiring Change” catalog are unique.  They are gifts of peace and justice, gifts that are sustainable and that build security. These alternative gifts multiply and grow, sometimes exponentially, and offer hope and new life to people facing grave crises and need. They challenge the trivia of our modern culture. These are authentic gifts that people really use and cherish. They always fit and are never thrown away.”

Sending Supplies to Bolivia’s Tropical Regions in 2017

This year we have been sending donated medical supplies and equipment to organizations based in the tropical areas of Bolivia. Click here for a list of posts highlighting these donations.

These are a few pictures from the Municipality of San Ignacio de Moxos of a distribution of medical supplies from Mano a Mano in May (it took 2 Mano a Mano planes to transport these supplies). We are happy to see these supplies being put to good use!

Donating Medical Supplies in San Ignacio de Moxos

Mano a Mano providing wheelchairs and walkers to the Temunakamu school in San Ignacio de Moxos, May 2017.

Mano a Mano providing wheelchairs and walkers to the Temunakamu school in San Ignacio de Moxos, May 2017.

Mano a Mano has worked with the municipal government of San Ignacio de Moxos a number of times this year; here are a few links to recent activities:

The Municipality of San Ignacio de Moxos in the department of Beni, Bolivia shared this video in March showing the donation and reception of medical supplies from Mano a Mano for use in 32 health centers in the area, including Hospital 3 de Noviembre.

From Minnesota to Bolivia: Distributing Donated Medical Supplies

Mano a Mano collects donated supplies in Minnesota and ships them to Bolivia, where they are distributed to people and organizations in need throughout the country.

Check out footage and interviews from our most recent large-scale distribution of supplies in October 2016 at the Mano a Mano warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia, when more than 90,000 pounds of supplies were given away:

Video Credit: William Wroblewski

Thanks Volunteers in Action!

Thanks Volunteers in Action!

Volunteers in Action at Mano a Mano, October 3, 2017.

Volunteers in Action at Mano a Mano, October 3, 2017.

Thanks to the volunteers from the St. Catherine University Volunteers in Action (VIA) group last night! From the St. Kate’s website: “VIA supports a balance of charity and justice. By offering regular longer-term volunteer opportunities to students, VIA engages volunteers in the community and culture of the places they serve.”
Also, thanks to our interns from Metropolitan State University that helped supervise last night.
Everything that was sorted last night will be shipped to Bolivia, where these medical supplies are distributed to people & organizations in need throughout the country. In 2017, Mano a Mano has shipped about 200,000 pounds of supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia.
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From Minnesota to Bolivia: Distributing Donated Medical Supplies

Mano a Mano collects donated supplies in Minnesota and ships them to Bolivia, where they are distributed to people and organizations in need throughout the country.

Check out footage and interviews from our most recent large-scale distribution of supplies in October 2016 at the Mano a Mano warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia, when more than 90,000 pounds of supplies were given away:

Video Credit: William Wroblewski

The Program that Started Mano a Mano

The surplus program is the program that started Mano a Mano more than 22 years ago; with the dedicated support of hundreds of volunteers in both the US & Bolivia, we have collected and shipped millions of pounds of supplies since 1994.

From 8,500 Feet Above Sea Level to 16,500 Feet Above Sea Level

From 8,500 Feet Above Sea Level to 16,500 Feet Above Sea Level

Mano a Mano’s counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo completed a new 54-mile road in Cotagaita, Bolivia in 2008 – still our longest road project to date. The Cotagaita road goes from 8,500 feet above sea level to 16,500 feet above sea level, cutting through the mountainous terrain of the Andean Altiplano.

Arriba en la montana; High up on the mountain

Cars on the Cotagaita road.

Cars on the Cotagaita road.

Prior to the completion of the Cayti-to-Sagrario connecting road, farmers traveled an astonishing 124 miles on a circuitous road through the mountains to reach the miner’s market, a grueling 15-hour drive by truck. Many farmers walked across the mountains with their donkeys for three days to complete this journey. Now this important market lies within 9-16 miles of Cotagaita-area farmers, reducing their travel time to an hour.

“We Had Spent a Fortune Before Mano a Mano Arrived”

The municipality had tried to complete this project for 12 years, with no success. At the dedication of the road, Ing. Waldo Martinez Pereira, Mayor of Cotagaita, said: “We had spent a fortune before Mano a Mano had arrived to be able to construct this stretch of road, without success. And when I say a fortune, I mean millions of Bolivianos (1 million Bolivianos is about $145,000), which means that we were unable to meet other pressing needs such as drinking water, basic sanitation, and health care. I think that with this road we will be much better positioned to meet the needs of the local communities.” (4:04 minute mark of the video.)

Video: Cotagaita Road Project

Cochabamba-Area Students Visiting the Center for Ecological Agriculture

Cochabamba-Area Students Visiting the Center for Ecological Agriculture

Students visiting Mano a Mano's Center for Ecological Agriculture on October 2, 2017.

Students visiting Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture on October 2, 2017.

The Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) provides low-cost, low-tech training for rural Bolivian farmers; as part of its training it also hosts kids from the city and surrounding urban and peri-urban areas to learn more what life is like in rural areas, and about topics like the environment and climate change. Over the past month, Mano a Mano has hosted hundreds of students to tour the CEA.

For many of these kids, this is their first time seeing a farm, and simple things like learning where milk comes from can be an eye-opening experience.

The animals at the CEA are always the favorite part of the tour.

The animals at the CEA are always the favorite part of the tour.

1,415 Kids Have Visited the CEA in 2017

So far this year, more than 1,415 kids have visiting the CEA, which is a 36% increase from the number of kids that visited for all of 2016:

  • 2017 – 1,415 students have visited the CEA (through September)
  • 2016 – 1,040 students visited the CEA
Students visiting the CEA, August 2017.

Students visiting the CEA, August 2017.

Training, Tools, and Tours for More than 4,000 People Through the Center for Ecological Agriculture in 2016 (from 2016 Annual Report)

Bolivian farmers touring Mano a Mano's Center for Ecological Agriculture on the outskirts of Cochabamba with Mano a Mano agronomist Camila Yavira Garcia.

Bolivian farmers touring Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture on the outskirts of Cochabamba with Mano a Mano agronomist Camila Yavira Garcia.

Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) provides training and tools to improve food security & nutrition for Bolivian farm families. The tools available include cisterns and other small water projects, greenhouses, livestock pens, and biodigesters. The training includes on-site workshops at the CEA, as well as training provided directly in communities. The CEA has continued to grow and become more and more of an integral Mano a Mano program. In 2016, below is a rundown of the activities at the CEA:

Watch a Video Tour of the Center for Ecological Agriculture:

Thanks Ogema, Wisconsin Fire Department!

Thanks Ogema, Wisconsin Fire Department!

Thanks to Mark and Chris Kempen for the truckload of firefighter gear – a gift from the Ogema, Wisconsin fire department!

Firefighter supplies from Mark and Chris Kempen - a gift from the Ogema, Wisconsin fire department, September 2017.

Firefighter supplies from Mark and Chris Kempen – a gift from the Ogema, Wisconsin fire department, September 2017.

These supplies will be included in our next shipment to Bolivia, where they will be distributed to people & organizations in need throughout the country. In 2017, Mano a Mano has shipped over 200,000 pounds of donated medical, school, and orthopedic supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia.

Thank You Video From SAR Bolivia

Mark and Chris have donated supplies before; in this video from December 2016, Bernado Aranibar from SAR Bolivia (Servicio Aereo de Rescate, or Search and Rescue in English) thanks Mark & Chris for the supplies from them that were donated by Mano a Mano to SAR Bolivia in October 2016 (click here for pictures from the October 2016 distribution events). We are happy to partner with great organizations like SAR Bolivia!