On Saturday Mano a Mano hosted our annual picnic to celebrate our awesome volunteers and 18 years in operation! Despite the chilly weather and having to move indoors, we had a great turnout for what will be our last event at the current location. Mano a Mano is currently in the process of buying its own combined office/warehouse space in St. Paul to call home. We are very excited at this opportunity that will allow us to have our own space and give back our ‘office’ to co-founders Joan and Segundo Velasquez, who have been donating their home to be used as the Mano a Mano office for 18 years!

Mano a Mano's 'warehouse' in Joan and Segundo's backyard in the early years

This has been a year of huge growth for Mano a Mano’s infrastructure, both in the US and Bolivia:

  • in the US we have added a 3rd staff person and are buying a warehouse
  • we bought 2 new planes for our aviation program
  • our counterpart organizations in Bolivia are building new warehouses for their operations on a shared site in El Abra, on the outskirts of Cochabamba
  • we are building a training and demonstration center on the same site in El Abra to teach subsistence farmers best practices for water project maintenance and productive use of water, as well as train the heavy machine operators and diesel mechanics who build these projects
  • these projects are in addition to the many infrastructure projects we are building throughout Bolivia (10 new clinics in 2011, a large water reservoir in Sancayani, 301 emergency air rescues, among many others)
With these accomplishments in mind, Saturday’s picnic was special for us. Mano a Mano has gotten to this point because of the hard work of our volunteers and staff, both in the US and Bolivia, but we also wanted to give special recognition to our co-founders Joan and Segundo Velasquez. They have worked tirelessly on behalf of Mano a Mano for 18 years, and with us moving out of their home we wanted to ensure that they are a part of the daily experience at our new office/warehouse space. At the picnic, Mano a Mano US staff presented Joan and Segundo with a plaque that will be displayed on our new building to honor them for their commitment.

Joan and Segundo, with our Office Manager Dana, showing off their plaque!

This plaque will be displayed on Mano a Mano's new office/warehouse

Thanks to everyone who came on Saturday! We are really excited for the future, and we look forward to seeing you in our new space!

With the chilly weather we had to move the picnic inside

Our medical supply sorting room turned into the dining room. This is the cleanest this room has ever been!