Every year, we ship 150,000-200,000 pounds of donated medical supplies and equipment from our St. Paul, Minnesota warehouse to Bolivia. The vast majority of this cargo (about 97%) is made up of medical supplies and equipment that make it possible for our clinics and other institutions to provide life-saving health care. But these shipments support our other programs as well, by sending our counterpart organizations items that reduce project cost, save precious time, and improve safety for our staff and the communities we partner with.

Here is just one recent example.

Canoes and Small Boats

Life in Bolivia’s Amazon basin is a life surrounded by water. Fast-running rivers isolate small communities from each other, from food supplies, and from health care. Mano a Mano uses small aircraft to serve these communities during emergencies. Residents use wooden canoes and small boats for their regular travel.

Traditionally, tribal families have carved boats from felled trees. But frequent accidents, some with tragic consequences, occur when naturally downed trees strike wooden boats. After a teacher and three students drowned when their canoe broke apart as they crossed a 100-foot-wide river on their way to school, several communities asked Mano a Mano to help them acquire aluminum canoes and boats.

Canoes along a river in the Amazon; some are in various levels of rotting and falling apart.

Shipping 3 Canoes and a Jon Boat from Minnesota

In September of 2020 we shipped three canoes and one jon boat in response to this request.

Loading canoes as part of our September 2020 shipment from Minnesota to Bolivia.

Shared Transport for Bolivian Communities in the Amazon

Now on their way to the tropics, each watercraft will belong to an entire community, not an individual. It will be parked in full view on selected spots on either side of the river, available for shared transport to whoever needs it.