Over the past week Mano a Mano has been working to respond to Bolivian communities that have been hardest-hit by the heavy rains and flooding (you can read more about the floods and our response HERE and HERE).

Distributing 2,000+ Kilos of Food

It’s still raining in Bolivia but the rain is not as heavy and the flow of water through the tropical areas that we work in seems to be receding a bit.

Mano a Mano Aviation delivered over 2,000 kilos of food on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday we flew a government-supported physician into Oromomo (an area that we serve with both weekend clinics and emergency rescue) and on Tuesday we will fly Mano a Mano Bolivia physicians into San Luis, our staging area (we are setting up an emergency response clinic in San Luis).

Mano a Mano plane distributing food on Sunday.

Mano a Mano plane distributing food on Sunday.

Mano a Mano Making Peanut Butter to Include in Food Distributions

Last fall, Twin Cities-area resident Darrold traveled to Bolivia with Mano a Mano co-founder Segundo Velasquez. During his trip he showed staffmembers Blanca and Camila from our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional  how to use the grinder that he took with him as a gift for the Demonstration and Training Center (CEA). Staff experimented with it. Earlier this week during one of the strategy meetings for our flood response, a physician who has been hired by Mano a Mano Bolivia to spend a month in Beni mentioned that peanut butter would be the perfect food item to send but she and others dismissed the possibility because of the expense. Camila and Blanca looked at each other but didn’t say anything at that point.

Instead, they returned to the CEA and experimented with using the grinder to make peanut butter. They even figured out that by adding more peanuts near the end of the process, they could make chunky peanut butter. (Blanca is a big fan of chunky peanut butter which is simply not available in Bolivia; Mano a Mano travelers often hand-carry peanut butter and other hard-to-find foot items on trips to Bolivia for Mano a Mano staff.) She bought small tubs, made labels for “Mano a Mano Peanut Butter”, filled the containers and plans to fill as many as possible to take to Mano a Mano Aviation for the food packages.

Tony, one of the Mano a Mano Aviation pilots, said he will purchase containers for his family and friends. Segundo is ordering 50 pounds to give as gifts when he’s there in March (instead of buying in the US and carrying it all the way to Bolivia). And thus a new initiative, a small business is born. Blanca told us that grinding enough for only a few tubs took hours so Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo personnel are modifying the grinder for connection to a small motor. Their plan is to make as many tubs of peanut butter as possible to send with the physicians that Mano a Mano Bolivia will be dispatching on Tuesday and with Mano a Mano Aviation as they transport food packages into the Beni. Mano a Mano is covering the costs they have incurred for the motor and the purchase of peanuts and other supplies from our flood recovery fund.

Make a Donation

If you’d like to help support Mano a Mano’s emergency response efforts during this difficult time in Bolivia, you can make a donation here.