Mano a Mano received a very generous grant earlier this year from the Lored Foundation that allowed us to purchase a twin-engine airplane for our aviation program in Bolivia. A second twin-engine plane was also donated to us around the same time; these two planes will greatly increase the capacity of our aviation program. Our first plane arrived in Bolivia about a month ago; this week Ivo and Vieri, two of our Apoyo Aereo pilots flew to San Diego from Bolivia to fly the second plane to Bolivia.
On Christmas evening, Mano a Mano co-founders Segundo and Joan Velasquez drove to San Diego so that they could pick up Ivo and Vieri at the San Diego airport in the early morning of the 26th and drive them to the aviation field of El Cajon, where our twin-engine Navajo Chieftain was being prepared for its flight to Bolivia. Joan and Segundo met the men who have been flying and maintaining the plane for years and feel very confident that they have done everything possible to ensure that this aircraft will serve Mano a Mano well.
The two technicians in San Diego who made the repairs and prepared the plane to be in the best condition possible clocked over 400 hours of shop time but are charging Mano a Mano for only 150. They spent two days with our pilots, getting them acquainted with the aircraft, and flew it with them for several hours in southern California. Yesterday Ivo and Vieri filed their flight plan and began the long flight to Bolivia. They arrived at Opa Locka, near Miami, very early this morning. You can follow their flight path here.
Making this happen has been an incredible accomplishment for Mano a Mano and could not have been done without constant attention and effort in both the U.S. and Bolivia. These 2 twin-engine planes dramatically increase the capacity of our aviation program to provide more emergency air rescues, more weekend health clinics, and support our programs in Bolivia.