With Governor Walz announcing the extension of the Minnesota Stay at Home Order, the Mano a Mano office will be closed until May 4th. Our US staff is working remotely during this time, and you can find our contact information here. With the lockdown in Bolivia, Mano a Mano’s new projects underway and normal daily programs have also been put on hold, and our offices there are closed. Although most of our daily work has been impacted, we have been distributing medical supplies in both Minnesota & Bolivia over the past month; everyone has seen the tremendous strain the COVID-19 pandemic has put on healthcare systems everywhere, and we are happy to be able to give much-needed supplies to the organizations that need them.

While there is a very restrictive lockdown in Bolivia, Mano a Mano has received the necessary permits for staff and volunteers to go to our Cochabamba warehouse to organize distributions of medical supplies and equipment for hospitals, clinics, and healthcare organizations throughout Bolivia. We were lucky that our last shipment of supplies sent from Minnesota in November arrived in Bolivia days before the shutdown went into effect, and we are busy organizing these supplies to get them to people in need. In recent weeks, hospital staff from Potosi, Sucre, Oruro, Cochabamba, and elsewhere have driven to our warehouse to pick up supplies – this is a 10+ hour drive each way for some of these organizations.

We are grateful to the many dedicated people that support Mano a Mano: the communities and local governments in Bolivia we partner with, our Bolivian staff and volunteers, our Minnesota staff and volunteers, and our supporters spread out across the globe. We look forward to the day that our work can get back on track, but in the meantime we will do what we can. Thank you, and please feel free to get in touch with us! We all need to stay connected in these challenging times.

Red Cross Potosi drove to Santa Cruz and back, including a stop at Mano a Mano in Cochabamba, to pick up supplies. That is 24+ hours of driving time round-trip.

Medical Supply Distributions – March & April 2020

Below are links with more information about the distributions we have been making in Minnesota & Bolivia over the past month, with a photo slideshow below:

Donating Needed Medical Supplies in Cochabamba in Times of Quarantine

To give just one example of a recent donation we’ve made: On March 26, 2020 Mano a Mano staff Juan and Blanca, escorted by an ambulance due to the quarantine, went to our warehouse on the outskirts of Cochabamba to pick up a few boxes of medical supplies to donate in Santivañez. A man visiting from Spain went to a two-day wedding party in Santivañez, 25km south of Cochabamba. He tested positive for COVID-19, potentially having infected hundreds of wedding guests. Local health authorities were desperately searching for N95 masks. Mano a Mano was escorted by ambulance to the Mano a Mano warehouse to retrieve 120 N95 masks. With a strict quarantine and testing of those affected in Santivañez, an outbreak there can hopefully be averted. Basic medical supplies are in especially desperate need throughout the world right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. Mano a Mano distributes 200,000 pounds of medical supplies and equipment annually to people & organizations in need in Bolivia. We receive urgent requests on a daily basis, and we are distributing what we have available in these challenging times (we have very limited quantities of PPE & cleaning supplies, with much of what we had already having been distributed).