Check out what we have been doing together over the past month:

Dedicating a New School in Kaspicancha Alta, Bolivia

Mano a Mano dedicated a new school in Kaspicancha Alta earlier this month! This is our 68th school project built in Bolivia since 2003. Kaspicancha is a community in the municipality of Tiraque, province of Tiraque, department of Cochabamba; it has a population of 870 (with a total of 1,682 residents in the area) and is located 49 miles from the city of Cochabamba. The new school consists of 4 classrooms, and will provide a more comfortable environment for local students to learn and for teachers to teach. The Mano a Mano school is replacing the old adobe classrooms where the 93 students and 4 teachers in the community were based previously.

75,272 Pounds of Supplies Leaving Minnesota for Bolivia This Week

Over the past week, Mano a Mano staff and volunteers have loaded 3 40-foot containers with 75,272 pounds of medical supplies, mobility equipment, and other in-demand items at our St. Paul, Minnesota warehouse. They will soon be on their way to Bolivia, where they will be distributed from our Cochabamba warehouse to people and organizations in need throughout the country. Thank you to the many Mano a Mano volunteers, donors, and staff that make these shipments possible!

Sacabamba Students Proudly Display Their Greenhouse Vegetable Crops

In partnership with the municipality of Sacabamba and the parents and teachers from the three requesting villages, Mano a Mano constructed nine greenhouses next to public schools, three in each village, in 2018. With careful selection of plants, correct timing, efficient use of water, and focus on maintaining the quality of soil, these greenhouses can yield abundant fruit and vegetable crops. Last month, Mano a Mano hosted its first trip to Bolivia since the pandemic derailed our last planned travel experience in March 2020. Children from each of the three villages lined up to greet the visitors and invite them into their gardens.

Mano a Mano Receives Presidents’ Community Partner Award from St. Kate’s University

We are so grateful to receive The Presidents’ Community Partner Award from St. Catherine University this month! “The Presidents’ Community Partner Award is for a community-based individual or organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways.” Over the years, Mano a Mano has been grateful to work together with St. Kate’s in many different ways: internships through St. Kate’s Community Work and Learning; student volunteer groups; site visits as part of St. Kate’s classes; research projects with St. Kate’s classes; Citizen Katie Day; among many others!

Using Shipping Containers on the Mano a Mano Worksite in Punata

The daily work continues on the Mano a Mano runway to which the Mano a Mano aviation program will be relocated in 2024. We offered to exchange the building of community-requested projects for land in the local community (these projects include a new school, new water well and water tower, and road, among others; most of these community projects were completed in 2022). We have named the entire comprehensive project the Punata Regional Complex. And we have turned 3 shipping containers from Minnesota into a place for storage and mobile housing/offices, which are very useful for the Punata Regional Complex. For each shipment of supplies sent from Minnesota, we purchase the shipping containers (rather than renting); this saves us money by ensuring we don’t incur large additional fees if the shipment takes longer (it takes up to 6 months to go from our St. Paul warehouse, clear Bolivian Customs, and eventually arrive at our Cochabamba warehouse), but the containers themselves are also very useful for our programs in Bolivia. We can sell them, use them for storage at our warehouse, use them as makeshift fencing, and turn them into mobile housing for our staff when they are working for weeks or months at a time on projects in isolated rural areas.

“San Isidro Festival Brings Together Food, Sports, and Tourism” – Los Tiempos Article

The Cochabamba newspaper Los Tiempos wrote an article this month about the San Isidro Festival, which takes place in and around the Ucuchi water reservoir that Mano a Mano built in partnership with the community in 2005.

Daily Work Continues on Mano a Mano Airport (March 2023)

The daily work continues on the Mano a Mano runway to which the Mano a Mano aviation program will be relocated in 2024. The base foundation of the 1,500-meter runway was finished during 2022; work continues on the base layer of crushed rock. When the base is complete, Mano a Mano will lay asphalt on a 1,100-foot-long portion of this runway over the course of 2023. In early March, Mano a Mano’s Cessna Caravan landed on a usable portion of the under-construction runway, and Mano a Mano staff had lunch with some of the local Municipal leaders.

14th Acute Care Conference on April 26-28 – Continuing Health Education in Bolivia

Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia is hosting its 14th “Acute Care Conference” on April 26-28, 2023 – going on right now! This conference will have theory and practical sections, and is in partnership with Medical Educators For Latin America – MELA, Mayo Clinic, Sociedad Científica Boliviana de Medicina General Filial Cochabamba, and Colegio Médico de Bolivia – Quillacollo. A critical component of Mano a Mano’s health programs in Bolivia is to provide health education: to communities through weekend health clinics providing basic services; to Mano a Mano’s clinic staff through continuing health education workshops; and to medical professionals from other organizations.

8 Years as Executive Director, 17+ Years with Mano a Mano

“March 2023 marked 2 milestones for me: I have now been Executive Director of Mano a Mano for 8 years, and I am turning 40! Very rarely do I post about myself, which is by design: I would much rather highlight the great work our staff and volunteers and communities that we partner with are doing every day in Minnesota and Bolivia. But I wanted to look back a bit and share some of my story over 17+ years with Mano a Mano.” – from Executive Director Nate Knatterud-Hubinger.

Mano a Mano 2022 Annual Report

We are grateful to you for helping Mano a Mano continue to partner with Bolivian communities – on projects they request & ultimately own – to improve their lives. Mano a Mano’s biggest strength is our community-based partnership model – bringing many people together to accomplish things that none of us could do on our own. Learn more about what we did together in 2022.