Our aviation program has been busy! Besides adding 2 twin-engine planes to our program in the last 2 months, in 2011 we:
- Flew volunteer medical professionals from Mano a Mano Bolivia to provide 20 weekend health clinics in rural areas of Bolivia that have no access to healthcare
- Provided 301 emergency air rescues (compared to 266 in 2010)
A large majority of our emergency flights take place in the Amazon Jungle areas of eastern Bolivia. Many of these communities have very poor roads and nonexistent public transportation, which is especially difficult in times of emergency. It can take days sometimes to get from their communities to a hospital where they can receive care; with an emergency flight they can be at a hospital in a few hours.
Weekend health clinics and emergency flights are the two main services of our aviation program, but it is also a crucial asset in supporting Mano a Mano’s other programs. Staff from Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo shared this recent story about transporting a motor for our heavy equipment that needed repairs:
We sent the starter motor for the D6M dozer to Cochabamba for repair via TAM (Bolivian airline) several days ago. We hardly knew how to get it there because Tarija is paralyzed by road blockades. Now everything from Tarija is blocked, all roads and air transport from there, so we decided to call for the Apoyo Aereo aircraft. AA flew the repaired starter motor to the landing strip in El Palmar and our personnel rode on horseback to get it. This transport was well coordinated via radio communication. Aviation for some may just be for comfort but for us it is of great utility. Travel by land is impossible with everything blockaded. We have gained 6 – 7 days of work by investing in 2 hours of flight. We know of others who are still parked in Tarija and cannot return to work.
We are looking to another great year for our aviation program in 2012. We are having a Festival 2012 to support the aviation program in April, after successful Festivals the past 2 years to build a clinic and water reservoir. Members of the Apoyo Aereo board are excited for 2012 as well:
“We believe that 2012 will be a year of much satisfaction, many challenges, goals and progress for this program. We want to work responsibly and with energy in this year 2012. Thank you for providing us with opportunities to serve Bolivia’s most needy. ”