Mano a Mano’s May trip to Bolivia, titled “Water, Food, Health, and Education: A Journey to Celebrate and Learn,” introduced 15 US travelers to each type of project that Mano a Mano undertakes at the request of the communities they will serve.

Visiting Wirkini Water Reservoir (Completed in 2016)

Wirkini residents gather on their reservoir levee, eager to welcome 15 Mano a Mano US visitors, May 2024

A visit to the Wirkini water reservoir project, completed in 2016, gave the travelers an opportunity to witness the flow of water from the filled reservoir and talk about the sustainability of this large infrastructure project.

Since it was dedicated and turned over to the community eight years ago, Wirkini’s farmers have taken full responsibility for maintaining the reservoir and managing the distribution of its water. They were eager to demonstrate how the reservoir functions and tell the visitors how this water has vastly improved their lives.

Don Pacifico, leader of the Wirkini Irrigators Association, explained that 20 small communities draw water from this reservoir. “We are all united, working forward together so that all can survive,” he told the surrounding crowd.

This Wirkini farmer explained that he and his neighbors lacked sufficient water to raise enough food to feed their families before Mano a Mano built the reservoir in partnership with them.  Having this predictable source of water has transformed their lives. “Last year I raised about 18,000 pounds (two box-truck loads) of potatoes, some almost the size of my head.”

Having watched the farmers dig potatoes, several travelers decided to pitch in and help, using the tools at hand.

Visiting Corani Pampa Clinic (Built in 2003)

The group continued on to Corani Pampa to learn about Mano a Mano’s sub-tropical greenhouse project in the area. While there, they made an unannounced visit to the community health clinic constructed in partnership with Mano a Mano in 2003. (Corani Pampa was Mano a Mano’s 28th health clinic completed in Bolivia; we recently completed our 185th clinic in Catariri and 186th clinic in San Antonio in late April. Mano a Mano’s network of health clinics had 1,389,436 patient visits in 2023.) As with all Mano a Mano projects, responsibility for maintaining this clinic was turned over to the community/municipality on the day of its formal dedication in July of that year.

Visiting the Corani Pampa clinic, May 2024.

The travelers noted that this healthcare facility, which has been operating for 21 years, was very well-maintained; those waiting to be seen by the physician were grateful to have medical care available in their community.

Ensuring that children receive recommended vaccinations is a high priority. Last year, Mano a Mano clinics provided 86,816 vaccinations for children. Clinic staff keep detailed vaccination records for each child in the community, including these children in Corani Pampa.

Testing the Water from the Chirusi Rosario Well (Drilled in 2021)

The next day our travelers visited Chirusi Rosario, where Mano a Mano drilled a deep well in 2021 (we completed 3 more stages of water distribution projects in the community over the next 3 years, including a 6-story water tank and piping to each household). This well continues to yield a consistent flow of 5-6 quarts per second. The Chirusi Rosario residents’ Water Association takes responsibility for maintaining their well, as is the case with all Mano a Mano community-based projects. We expect it to function without major repair for at least twenty more years.

Travelers visiting the 6-story water tower that is part of the water projects completed by Mano a Mano, in partnership with the community, over the past 3 years.

This well serves Chirusi Rosario’s 212 households, plus its school (which was built by Mano a Mano in 2022). Because the well water is intended for drinking, we want to make sure that illness-causing bacteria don’t enter its system.

Dr. Gary M., tested the water for bacteria

Chemist Dr. Gary M. took this travel opportunity to test a water sample from a public faucet from which residents can draw water. The test was negative, meaning that the well’s water continues to be safe to drink. While in Bolivia, Dr. M. taught Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo staff how to conduct this on-site test.

Visiting Chirusi Rosario School (Completed in 2022)

Travelers visited the nearby school in Chirusi Rosario, Mano a Mano’s 67th school project completed in 2022.

Travelers Were Inspired!

These project visits were just a small sample of Mano a Mano’s hundreds of community-based projects completed over the past 2+ decades, and travelers also packed much more into their visit! The opportunity to visit projects that beneficiaries have sustained for many years, as well as those that were completed recently, inspired our travelers (and Mano a Mano as an organization: we are pleased to see projects working as intended over the long-term).

The group participating in the dedication of a deep water well project in Flores Rancho

“When I look into the faces of the children and youth of Bolivia, I see a brighter future because of the work of Mano a Mano. They will experience a better education, cleaner water, healthier foods, and an all around better quality of life due to the efforts of this organization!” – Traveler Randy C.

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