Meeting Specialized Equipment Needs of Severely Disabled Children and Adults in Bolivia

Mano a Mano has sent millions of pounds of medical supplies, mobility equipment, and other items from Minnesota to Bolivia since 1994; these supplies are distributed to organizations and people in need throughout the country. Some of these distributions are more general distributions for organizations like hospitals, clinics, and other agencies; some are individual donations of basic wheelchairs or walkers or other mobility aids; and some items take a bit more focus. To date, 11 children have been enrolled in the physical therapy program. They have received specialized equipment and regularly scheduled therapy sessions three times weekly. An additional child received specialized wheelchair equipment, but could not be enrolled in the program because his family lives in Potosi, a one-way driving distance of about 10 hours.

Pamela, one of the 2 physical therapy students that is interning at Mano a Mano, works with 10-year-old Beismar, who is exercising with a standing frame sent from Minnesota.

Remembering Karl Norman

We were sad to see the news that Karl Norman passed away recently. Our condolences to Karl’s family and friends, and we are so grateful for the many ways that Karl supported Mano a Mano over decades. From the Duluth News Tribune obituary:

“Can-Do Karl traveled the world and loved meeting people everywhere he went. He was known for his work ethic and commitment to helping others. Karl was a proud member of Skyline Rotary known for his parties and generosity. After building a clinic in South America with Rotary he was so moved that he personally donated money for a second clinic in Bolivia. There will be a wake at Doughertys Funeral Home on May 31st at 5 pm and a funeral mass on June 1st at 10 am at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church followed by a celebration of life at the Incline Station. In lieu of flowers, the family asks people to consider a donation to Rotary International or”

Making Repairs on Mano a Mano’s Heavy Equipment

In order for Mano a Mano to be able to partner with Bolivian communities on economic development projects like water reservoirs, deep wells, and roads, we need to be able to provide the skilled labor and heavy equipment that is required for the work; that is one of the primary responsibilities and commitments of Mano a Mano as part of the partnership. Keeping our heavy equipment in good shape is a never-ending process, and is made more difficult since almost all of our development projects are in extremely isolated areas of Bolivia where breakdowns (which inevitably happen!) mean protracted downtime as staff have to travel hours or days one-way to be able to source repair parts in the city. Maintenance and repairs at our Cochabamba warehouse are key.

Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo staff repairing the motor for one of our Volvo trucks.

Rotary Clubs of District 5950 Grant Project 2021-22: “Providing Reliable Access to Potable Water for Rural Bolivian Communities”

The Lake Minnetonka Excelsior Rotary Club put together this summary report about the project they sponsored with us to drill deep water wells for 2 communities in Bolivia – Rotary Clubs of District 5950 Grant Project 2021-22: “Providing Reliable Access to Potable Water for Rural Bolivian Communities” The project to drill deep wells and provide a reliable source of drinking water for two communities in rural Bolivia was successfully completed at the end of March 2022. The process was carried out as planned, despite some delays, and now hundreds of families have year-round access to fresh water, for the very first time!

Water flowing at the Juzgado Chico Deep Water Well.

Thanks Mano a Mano Volunteers Helping Out in May!

Thanks to our volunteers helping out at Mano a Mano at our St. Paul warehouse! We have been working on our garden on our outside wall; sewing toys to add to the layette sets we make for newborns that we send to Bolivia; picking up and sorting medical supplies per usual; and making donations of durable medical equipment for people in the Twin Cities and beyond on Saturday (a therapist drove all the way from Worthington – 3 hours each way – to pick up an electric wheelchair for their patient).

Jazmín and Olivia working on small toys for the layette project.

Villa Nueva Clinic is 60% Complete

Construction on the Villa Nueva clinic began on September 28, 2021 and is 60% complete as of April 8, 2022. Villa Nueva is located in the municipality of Villa Tunari, province of Chapare, department of Cochabamba. The community has a population of 2,800 and is a 5-hour drive from Cochabamba. This project is a partnership with Mano a Mano Bolivia and Mano a Mano International Partners; the local community of Villa Nueva and municipal government of Villa Tunari that are participating throughout the process; and US donors that provided the seed money that make this project possible.

The Villa Nueva clinic is more than 60% complete.

Providing Dental Care in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia on April 23-24, 2022

Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Aviation was at the Cochabamba airport at 6am on Saturday, April 23rd preparing for their weekend health clinic (jornada) with 8 volunteer dentists traveling to Rurrenabaque to provide dental care for the community. We are grateful to Dra. Nohelia from Amigos da Saude for lending 2 portable dental units for the jornada.

Providing Access to Healthcare in Bolivia for Over 2 Decades: Mano a Mano Bolivia

Mano a Mano’s first counterpart organization established in Bolivia was Mano a Mano Bolivia, which has been working in Bolivia since 1996. To date, Mano a Mano Bolivia has constructed 178 health clinics throughout Bolivia, which had over 1 million patient visits in 2021. We recently dedicated our 2 newest clinic projects in Estaño Colorado and Guadalupe at the end of March 2022. Check out this video on Youtube to learn more about Mano a Mano Bolivia and how we partner with Bolivian communities to provide access to healthcare.

Other Recent Updates

Below are links about other recent Mano a Mano projects: