Mano a Mano Article in the Villager Newspaper

Mano a Mano Article in the Villager Newspaper

Check out the article on Mano a Mano in the newest edition of The Villager Newspaper – “Mano a Mano celebrates 25 years of giving Bolivians a helping hand.”

Map of Villager Newsstand Locations

Here is a map of newsstand locations to pick up a free copy (the Mano a Mano article is on pages 6-7).

Join Us For Our 25th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, September 15th

If you’re interested in coming to our 25th Anniversary Celebration, happening this Sunday, September 15th, you can get tickets on Eventbrite here. You can also get tickets at the event, or call the office to RSVP (651-457-3141)

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Scouting for Supplies

Scouting for Supplies

“Maybe it stabilizes the operating table…? Or helps set broken bones somehow…?” Wendy and Vero, two Mano a Mano volunteers, traded theories about the use of a shiny, metal object between them. Oddities like this are not uncommon in Mano a Mano’s medical warehouse in Cochabamba. Eventually, we solved the puzzle; it was a surgical rib-spreader. 

Wendy, 16 & Vero, 18

Wendy and Vero originally visited Mano a Mano with their scout troop. With 16 years of scout experience between them, Wendy and Vero aren’t strangers to volunteer work. However, their visit to Mano a Mano was a little different. During that visit, they attended a talk on environmentalism and helped with the distribution of medical supplies. Afterwards Wendy and Vero felt so inspired, they decided to dedicate their week-long, winter vacation to volunteering with Mano a Mano. I found them on their first day at the CEA, sorting through donation boxes.          

They opened each new box with curiosity, bouncing theories off of each other. When she graduates high school, Wendy wants to pursue medicine. According to her, volunteering with Mano a Mano let her see what kinds of things go into medicine. “It makes me really excited to start studying and find out what all of this is,” she said, as she pulled open another box. 

Vero, on the other hand, is interested in working in social work or biochemistry. Vero hoped her time with Mano a Mano would help her gain insight into both disciplines. Though she liked puzzling through donations, her favorite part of working at the CEA was seeing people receive donations. As she put it, “I love seeing how these donations make such a big difference in peoples’ lives.” 

Mano a Mano staff & volunteers preparing supplies for a distribution event on December 17, 2018 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

By the end of the day, Wendy and Vero had organized and packed a large pile of boxes. With wide smiles and workshirts in hand, the volunteers headed towards the door. On their way out, I asked them how they felt about spending their vacation at the CEA, instead of relaxing at home. They answered simply, “as scouts, volunteering is something we grew up with. We were always taught that if we can help, we should.”

Thanks Morgan Harden, Mano a Mano Volunteer

This post was written by Mano a Mano volunteer Morgan Harden, during her time with Mano a Mano in July 2019.

Morgan with Mano a Mano staff & volunteers (bottom left in the picture) during her volunteer time in 2017.

Morgan Harden is a writer, teacher, and translator, from Charlotte, NC. She graduated from Kenyon College with a double degree in Spanish literature and English. She volunteered at Mano a Mano’s CEA in Bolivia for three months in 2017, before completing a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Currently, she serves as a ETA Coordinator with the Argentine Fulbright Commission. Her work with Mano a Mano has inspired her to pursue a career in non-profit work, with a focus on Latin America. She still visits Mano a Mano whenever she has the chance, though the CEA team pokes fun at her now-Argentinized Spanish accent.

Morgan’s Other Articles:

    1. “This is Everything:” Medical Donations on November 17th, 2017
    2. Where it Starts: Mano a Mano Workshop #1 at the CEA
    3. Food for Thought: Mano a Mano Workshop #5 in Japo, Bolivia
    4. Step by Step: Mano a Mano Workshop #3 in Chapare
    5. Down & Dirty: Compost Day at the CEA
    6. Packed Tight: New Shipping Containers Unloaded at the CEA
    7. Donated Medical Supplies Improve Health Care in Bolivia – Article at the Borgen Project

RSVP by Friday, September 6th for our 25th Anniversary Celebration on September 15th

RSVP by Friday, September 6th for our 25th Anniversary Celebration on September 15th

Join us on Sunday, September 15th for BBQ and wood-fired pizza as we celebrate everything we have been able to accomplish together. A lot has changed since Mano a Mano started out of our Co-Founders Joan & Segundo Velasquez’s home in Mendota Heights, Minnesota in 1994, and we look forward to marking this milestone with our friends that have made it possible to impact so many lives.

If you plan on attending, please purchase your tickets by this Friday, September 6th if possible. Purchase your tickets on Eventbrite here. 

We hope to see you there!

  • WHERE – Mano a Mano, 925 Pierce Butler Route, St. Paul, MN 55104
  • WHAT – Mano a Mano’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
  • WHEN – Sunday, September 15th from 2-4pm
  • TICKETS – $35 (includes food & drink). Kids under 5 are free.

You can also send a check to Mano a Mano. Please talk with Carmen (carmen@manoamano.org or 651-457-3141 if you have any questions). Here is the Eventbrite link for purchasing tickets online.

Mano a Mano Updates – Mid-Late August 2019

We shared these updates in our most recent newsletter (sign up here), but below are a few of Mano a Mano’s most recent activities. Click the headline for more information:

Increasing Water Access in Laguna Sulti, Bolivia

Starting work on the Laguna Sulti water reservoir expansion, August 2019.

Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo recently began work on a water project to increase the capacity of subsistence farmers in Laguna Sulti, Bolivia to produce food by improving their access to water. This expansion will increase the water-holding capacity of the Laguna Sulti reservoir so water for irrigation and household use can reach more families and make additional water available for current irrigators, improving food security throughout the region. We are planning to complete this project by the end of 2019.

67,000 Pounds of Recovered Resources En Route to Bolivia from Minnesota

3 containers at our St. Paul warehouse, packed full and ready to go to Bolivia.

Last week, 3 containers filled with 67,865 pounds of recovered resources started their journey to Bolivia, where Mano a Mano distributes them to people and organizations in need throughout the country. Thanks to everyone that helped out!

Dedicating a New Clinic in Palca, Bolivia

On August 20, 2019 Mano a Mano dedicated our newest health clinic in Palca, Bolivia. The Palca clinic provides access to health care for 1,314 people.

148th Health Education Workshop for Nurses

Check out a few photos from our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia’s 148th Health Education Workshop in July 2019 for nurses. Continuing education is an integral part of our health program; Mano a Mano Bolivia provides education to: communities through providing training for volunteer health promoters; communities through weekend health clinics providing basic services; Mano a Mano’s clinic staff as continuing health education (pictured here); and medical professionals from other organizations.

Increasing Water Access in Laguna Sulti, Bolivia

Increasing Water Access in Laguna Sulti, Bolivia

Last week, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo began work on a water project to increase the capacity of subsistence farmers in Laguna Sulti, Bolivia to produce food by improving their access to water. This expansion will increase the water-holding capacity of the Laguna Sulti reservoir so water for irrigation and household use can reach more families and make additional water available for current irrigators, improving food security throughout the region. We are planning to complete this project by the end of 2019.

Starting work on the Laguna Sulti water reservoir expansion, August 2019.

Working with the Community

Every Mano a Mano project is a partnership, and we work closely with the community throughout the process. The video below is our staff talking with the community to go over the project details and timeline as we begin construction:

Project Details

Mano a Mano responded to community requests to address severe water shortage by completing a reservoir in Laguna Sulti in 2007; this reservoir serves 600 families (3,600 people) who now form its Irrigators Association. The Association schedules distribution from the reservoir to crop land through earthen channels, as water availability permits. 

The reservoir has brought significant benefits to families of the Laguna Sulti Irrigators Association. Crop production on irrigated fields has nearly doubled. Irrigators Association families have asked us to expand their reservoir so that: 1) they can water their entire plot rather than just a portion; 2) when children marry, water access can be extended to them; 3) 80 new families (480 people) from nearby communities can be added to the Association. 

The reservoir is built on flat land through which the Laguna Sulti River runs. Excess water is channeled through an overflow back into the river. Excavating one full meter from the floor of a 12.5 acre portion of the basin will capture an additional 700,000 cubic meters of water. Excavated dirt will be used to build up crop land in the surrounding area. During the rainy season the reservoir will fill twice as farmers draw down water to irrigate. 

With additional water, the 600 current Association families will be able to increase the amount of land they till and add 80 new families from nearby communities. Expansion will approximately double the number of irrigated acres.

Mano a Mano Water Projects

Access to water is a high priority for everyone. Mano a Mano partners with rural Bolivian communities to complete water projects that provide more consistent access to water for themselves, crops, and livestock. The type of project varies depending on the size, location, and geography of the community. We have constructed 9 large agricultural water reservoirs47 surface wells, and 320 water ponds (atajados). We also purchased well drilling equipment to be able to construct deep wells, like this well in Chinyata that was completed in June 2019. Access to water improves crop yields and quality for Bolivian farmers, which improves nutrition and can double or triple a family’s income.

67,000 Pounds of Recovered Resources En Route to Bolivia from Minnesota

67,000 Pounds of Recovered Resources En Route to Bolivia from Minnesota

3 containers at our St. Paul warehouse, packed full and ready to go to Bolivia.

Yesterday, 3 containers filled with 67,865 pounds of recovered resources started their journey to Bolivia, where Mano a Mano distributes them to people and organizations in need throughout the country. Thanks to everyone that helped out over the past week!

What Are We Shipping?

Mano a Mano volunteers load one of the 3 containers at Mano a Mano, August 2019

Mano a Mano receives donations of medical supplies and equipment, school supplies, orthopedic items like wheelchairs and crutches, and many other items that are destined for landfills in Minnesota but could be put to good use in Bolivia. In this shipment, below is a small snapshot of what we are shipping:

  • 2,149 boxes of medical supplies
  • 128 wheelchairs
  • 1,000 pairs of crutches
  • 773 walkers

Loading 3 containers at Mano a Mano, August 2019.

Distributing Supplies in Bolivia

Once these supplies arrive at our warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia in a few months, they are unloaded by Mano a Mano staff and prepared for distribution.

Mano a Mano staff and volunteers organize the supplies shipped from Minnesota at our Cochabamba warehouse for distribution, June 2019.

Supplies are distributed in different ways to people & organizations throughout Bolivia.

166,607 Pounds Shipped in 2018

This is our second shipment of 2019; in 2018 we shipped 8 containers with 166,607 pounds of supplies and equipment.

Watch the video below to see a distribution in Bolivia:

Join Us on September 15th as We Celebrate 25 Years!

Now that we have cleared out a little warehouse space, we are ready to celebrate! We hope to see you at our 25th Anniversary Celebration at Mano a Mano on Sunday, September 15th.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.