3 Mano a Mano Planes, 3 Flights
Mano a Mano’s volunteer warehouse manager Ray Wiedmeyer just got back from a trip to Bolivia with Mano a Mano co-founder Segundo Velasquez. While he was there, he took a lot of pictures and wrote about some of his experiences.
On November 1st, 2017, Mano a Mano’s aviation program had a very busy day, which Ray wrote about below:
It was a busy day at the Mano a Mano aviation program. All three planes were out doing the work. One was taking a mother, father, and baby home to the Amazon after being in Cochabamba for two months. The baby had a large cyst surgically removed from her neck; an operation that could not be done at a small clinic. Mano a Mano provided the free air transportation back and forth while a church group provided the temporary housing and funding for the medical care.
Can you imagine flying, spending weeks in a major city, and having your child operated on when all you have known is your small Amazonian village? I bet that must have been pretty scary.
The second plane off today took some missionaries into the back country. It’s paid flights like these that helps to make the free flights for others possible.
The third Mano a Mano plane out of the hanger today was off to the small village of San Pablo in the Amazon basin. For those who don’t know Bolivia very well there are two distinct regions….a large swath of the Andes mountains and a good sized chunk of the Amazonian rain forest. And I was able to tag along on this visit. The purpose of the trip was to have a meeting with the villagers, deliver Mano a Mano donated goods and school supplies, and bring back four Mano a Mano workers who had been doing road repair for the past few weeks. We also brought with us two 100 lb. hydraulic bulldozer shafts for the work crew and goods that had been ordered by villagers.
My take was…..geeze, subsistence living in the jungle must be crazy hard. If you can’t afford airfare out you could go by foot, boat, perhaps truck for part of the way but it would take you weeks to get any supplies or to any substantial medical care. These folks are tough and very skilled I suspect.
About the pictures:
The building with the tile roof is the 3 room schoolhouse.
The building with the thatched roof is one of the small homes in the village…note the solar panel.
The meeting was held outside of the village on the only road around.
The large, and I mean large dump truck, was our transportation from the runway to the village.
The runway is a dirt strip in the jungle…pretty basic.