We are keeping busy at Mano a Mano!

Here are a few updates from our projects in Bolivia & Minnesota over the past month:

Work Continues on Mano a Mano’s Runway at the Punata Regional Complex

Banner of Mano a Mano’s Punata Regional Complex, including a regional airport.

For years, aircraft as small as those that carry only two passengers have used the same Cochabamba airport runways that the major airlines use, a practice that seriously compromises safety, especially in a region surrounded by mountains. To remedy this hazard, the Cochabamba airport authority alerted Mano a Mano’s aviation program, along with all other non-commercial aircraft, to make plans to relocate to a regional airport.

The problem: there are no regional airports to which our aviation problem could relocate.

Our solution: to build a Punata Regional Complex, about 30 miles from Cochabamba, which will include a hangar and a safe, unobstructed runway for our life-saving flights.

Dedicating a 6-Story Water Tank in Chirusi Rosario on October 26th

The dedication was attended by Mano a Mano, Rotary members from Cochabamba Norte, the mayor of Punata, the mayor of Cliza, leaders from both municipalities, and the community.

On October 26th, our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo dedicated a 6-story water tank in Chirusi Rosario, Bolivia. The tank will distribute well water to each of the 212 households in the community. The well was completed by Mano a Mano in March 2022, in partnership with the community, Rotary Club of Duluth Harbortown, and many partnering rotary clubs from Rotary District 5580.

The dedication was attended by Mano a Mano, Rotary members from Cochabamba Norte, the mayor of Punata, the mayor of Cliza, leaders from both municipalities, and the community. Community leaders shared their gratitude and happiness to have this water project complete.

Recent Weekend Health Clinics in Laguna Sulti and Poza Honda

As part of our aviation program, Mano a Mano recruits medical professionals to spend a weekend providing healthcare in rural areas with limited access to healthcare. Three to eight volunteers, along with a pilot, fly to a prearranged airstrip location on an early Saturday morning, and return home the next day. Mano a Mano Aviation hosted recent weekend health clinics in Laguna Sulti and Poza Honda.

Preparing to Ship 3 Containers of Medical Supplies and Mobility Equipment to Bolivia in November

We are getting prepared to load and ship 3 containers for Bolivia in November.

Our St. Paul warehouse is getting full – each of our 5 storage rooms basically looks like the picture above – so we are getting prepared to load and ship 3 containers for Bolivia in November! We distribute the mobility equipment, medical supplies, and other in-demand items to people and organizations throughout Bolivia. So far this year we have shipped 6 containers with 148,495 pounds from Minnesota to Bolivia.

Agricultural, Teacher Training, and Physical Therapy Workshops

This week, a total of 48 students are attending their second set of workshops at the Normal’s Sacaba campus, located about 10 miles from Cochabamba.

Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional entered into a formal partnership agreement with the teacher training college Normal Simon Bolivar. Based on this agreement, Mano a Mano presents conceptual map pedagogy to Normal students, training them to use these maps as teaching tools that can be applied to any subject matter. Groups of 25-50 students each take part in sets of five workshops, the first taught at Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA), the next four at the Normal campus. In return, the Normal school provides products needed to support the operations of the CEA.

Students taking a tour of the CEA to learn about the different tools and techniques used to improve food security and nutrition for rural Bolivian farmers.

26 students recently participated in a week-long seminar at Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) in El Abra, Sacaba, Cochabamba. There, in a blend of theoretical workshops led by successful professionals in the world of agriculture and hands-on practice at Mano a Mano’s organic teaching farm, the students developed their pre-existing knowledge on the essentials of soil management, livestock upkeep, crop cultivation, sustainable construction, and more. They were also exposed to practical techniques at the cutting edge of Bolivian food production, ranging from hydroponic (soil-free) lettuce growth to gas biogeneration powered by animal waste.

Physical therapy workshop at Mano a Mano Internacional, October 2022.

Clinic & School Projects Underway

Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia is working on a new health clinic in Ayoma; there are additional clinic and school projects that will be underway in the coming months. Mano a Mano’s network of 178 clinic projects in Bolivia had 559,439 patient visits in the first half of 2022. 

The Difference Upgraded Heavy Equipment Can Make

A few years ago, Mano a Mano received designated funding to purchase a 323D CAT excavator, our most-needed piece of heavy machinery at the time for the major digging, dredging, and earth-moving tasks that must be completed day after day in order to build road and water retention infrastructure. Both road and water projects are essential to improving food security in Bolivia’s high Andean subsistence farming communities. The 323D CAT excavator has led to a substantial increase in the amount of work that can be tackled in one day. Comparing this 323D machine to our other CAT 320D excavator, our personnel have shown that the 320D fills 30 dump truck loads in one day. The CAT 323D has a much larger scoop and fills 50 truckloads in one day. Because of its size, it does more work with the same number of back and forth moves, with less wear and tear on the machine. Nearly all of our machines break down at least once during a major project; this one has stayed in operation since we acquired it.

Joan & Segundo Velasquez Recognized on Pollen 50 Over 50 List

Congratulations to Joan and Segundo Velasquez for being on the 2022 50 Over 50 list! Check out the full 50 Over 50 list on Pollen Midwest here. “The 2022 50 Over 50 list celebrates and recognizes Minnesotans over the age of 50 who have made significant contributions and achievements in their communities.” They were recognized at a 50 Over 50 celebration event on October 25 at Quincy Hall in Minneapolis.

Mano a Mano Virtual Update: Wednesday, November 16th from 12-1pm CST

Join us over lunch to see and hear more about what Mano a Mano has been working on recently! This will be a low-key virtual meeting on Zoom for our Executive Director Nate Knatterud-Hubinger to share information about some of our projects, answer any questions, and just be able to check in with people that are interested in our work. If you would like to attend this virtual event, please email [email protected] with “RSVP – November 16th” and we will email you the Zoom meeting link on the morning of Wednesday, November 16th.

  • WHAT: Mano a Mano Virtual Update
  • WHEN: Wednesday, November 16th from 12-1pm CST
  • WHERE: Virtual (Zoom)
  • HOW TO ATTEND: Email [email protected] with “RSVP – November 16th” and we will send the link on the morning of the event.

Give to the Max Day is November 17th

Give to the Max Day is Thursday, November 17, but Early Giving starts November 1 to give donors more opportunities to have their generosity counted as part of Minnesota’s giving holiday! Support Mano a Mano anytime November 1st-17th for Give to the Max Day here.