Mano a Mano’s New Plane is Flying!

Mano a Mano’s New Plane is Flying!


Mano a Mano’s Caravan taking one of its first flights.

Mano a Mano’s Caravan airplane is now flying in Bolivia! After purchasing it in Minnesota last summer and months of training and prep, it was flown from Fleming Field in the Twin Cities to Cochabamba, Bolivia last October. Over the next 5 months, we obtained registration and certification, customs payment, and the approval to purchase jet fuel for the airplane. All has been completed and the airplane is now flying (5 months is actually an extremely fast turnaround).

Exceeding Our Expectations

Our pilots say that the airplane has surpassed any and all expectations they had. The Caravan is performing beautifully in Bolivia. It lands and takes off in a third of the length of runway in comparison to a Cessna 206. The airplane climbs like a dream, especially in the early, cool hours of the morning. If the weather is rough at 13,500 feet today, the pilots and aircraft easily can choose to climb to 15,500 ft – a difficult task with the 206.

Carrying Additional Cargo

The Caravan is able to carry a monstrous amount of cargo (in comparison to the Cessna 206).  On a flight earlier this week, we were carrying around 2,500 lbs of cargo, as opposed to 770 lbs with the Cessna 206. And we are reaching our destination faster and sooner. With the Caravan we do not have to circle to gain altitude. By the time we reach the high pass, the airplane has gained the altitude necessary. Most importantly, we do not have to go around mountains: the airplane has the power to gain altitude and fly over safely. In this scenario, the Caravan reaches destination in 37 minutes as opposed to 60 minutes with the Cessna 206.

Cargo inside the Caravan includes wire for fencing around the airport and equipment, such as wind socks and a stair stand to climb onto airplane.


The plane can transport much more cargo than our previous plane.


Recent Flights

The Ministry of Health recently hired Mano a Mano to fly one of its seriously ill officials, and they have reserved a second flight. We are beginning to respond to other emergencies. We are being paid to transport food into the tropics which will be sold by small businesses. Just by making food available in isolated, poor regions of Bolivia we can improve health. I am so pleased we are able to do this.

Mano a Mano’s plane on a flight to the Bolivian Amazon – the region where the majority of our flights take place.

Thank You

We are very happy with the airplane. And we are grateful to everyone that has helped make this dream a reality.

– Segundo Velasquez, Mano a Mano International Co-Founder & Board President

Mano a Mano Speaker Series: April 9, 2019

Join us at Mano a Mano on Tuesday, April 9 for our monthly Speaker Series event. April’s speaker is Jesús N. Pinto-Ledezma, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He will be discussing the Hyacinth Macaw program in Bolivia. The event is free and takes places at Mano a Mano (925 Pierce Butler Route, St. Paul, MN 55104) from 6:30pm-7:45pm.

Note: There is not a Speaker Series event scheduled in March 2019.

Please RSVP with Carmen if you plan on attending – We hope to see you there!

2,711 Visitors to the Center for Ecological Agriculture in 2018

In 2018, the CEA provided agricultural/environmental training and education to 2,711 people.

Here are some recent examples from the past few weeks:

Two recent groups of visitors to Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA): Scouts visited to learn about local environmental challenges in Cochabamba and how the CEA works to address them through ecological agriculture (top); and local area students learn about different methods of irrigation (bottom).

Busy morning at Mano a Mano’s Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA): Maria is demonstrating the benefits of local irrigation methods to a group of visitors (mostly in the blue and red, center-right), and staff and volunteers are working on installing a new corral for chickens (the yellow sheet in the upper left).

When we started the Center for Ecological Agriculture (CEA) about 5 years ago, we barely generated enough organic/green material to make one pile of compost. In 2018, we made 39 piles (like this one), and our goal in 2019 is 70 compost piles.

Visiting Mano a Mano’s Newest Water Reservoir in Maldonado, Bolivia

Yesterday (February 26, 2019), Mano a Mano staff visited our newest water reservoir project in Maldonado, Bolivia – and it’s at close to full capacity of its maximum water level.

Mano a Mano staff started work on this water project in February 2017. As with many of our projects, the working conditions have been difficult: it is about 14,000 feet above sea level, and it is cold, wet, and windy.

This project will make it possible for 96 subsistence farm families (about 600 people) to irrigate 250 acres of cropland and to water their livestock, as well as having water for household use.

With the recent severe drought in Bolivia, with effects felt for many years, water projects like this one are especially important to help rural communities manage their resources throughout the year.

Because of the need, water projects are a high priority for Mano a Mano and the communities that we partner with. In addition to building large-scale water reservoirs, we also build surface wells and small water ponds in communities where the smaller projects are a better fit.

Mano a Mano Plane Close to Flying in Bolivia

Mano a Mano Plane Close to Flying in Bolivia

Last week we painted on the new plane registration number as we are close to finalizing being certified in Bolivia – it is almost ready to start flying and providing emergency flights! We are very excited for the impact this plane will have on our aviation program in Bolivia, allowing us to better serve the people in need that our program focuses on.

Mano a Mano’s plane has been re-painted with its new registration number – CP-3118, formerly N900RG when it was registered in the US – for flying in Bolivia.

Getting this plane ready to fly has taken over 2 years; from searching for a plane throughout the US that would meet the requirements to navigate the difficult flying and landing conditions in Bolivia, to raising funds to purchase the plane, to having our pilots fly up to the US from Bolivia for training in the summer of 2018, to flying the plane from St. Paul, Minnesota to Cochabamba, Bolivia over the course of a week in October 2018, to the many months of paperwork and inspections that are required to import and certify a plane…this is a long process. We are grateful to the many people that have put in a lot of time, energy, and resources – and that continue to do so – to make this possible.

First Flight at Fleming Field in Minnesota – Summer 2018

Learn more about Mano a Mano’s aviation program, and the impact this new plane will have, here (and check out its test flight at Fleming Field last summer).