Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our March trip to Bolivia with 13 travelers from Minnesota was canceled; this trip would have left the US one month ago today and arrived in Bolivia on March 14th. Our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Internacional, which manages the Recovered Resources program there, had made plans to honor the indispensable work of our Volunteer Warehouse Manager Ray Wiedmeyer and Karen Abraham in support of this program – both in St. Paul, Minnesota and Bolivia. A major distribution of supplies to 29 hospitals, clinics, and other facilities had been scheduled to take place during the trip. Mano a Mano Internacional prepared plaques for Ray and Karen to be awarded during the distribution ceremony by a representative of the Bolivian Health Ministry. ManComunidad, a collaborative of 8 municipalities located in southern Cochabamba and northern Potosi, decided to also award plaques and flower leis to Ray and Karen during the distribution ceremony. Given the developing social distancing recommendations in place at the time, the distribution took place outdoors without a formal ceremony. Two Minnesota volunteers who were in Bolivia at the time, Andrea and Matt, accepted the awards.

Matt and Andrea accepting the volunteer awards in Cochabamba on behalf of Ray and Karen, March 14th, 2020.
“With sincere thanks to Ray Wiedmeyer and Karen Abraham, who are for our institution indispensable volunteers. For your generous dedication to Mano a Mano’s cause to bring hope for better health to those people in Bolivia most in need through medical supplies. ‘If you change one life, you have changed the world forever.’ Cochabamba, March 14th, 2020”
Mano a Mano still distributed medical supplies and equipment on March 14th to almost 30 organizations throughout Bolivia, although unfortunately without our group of travelers being able to attend.

Thanks Ray and Karen!

Thanks Ray and Karen for your tremendous efforts in support of Mano a Mano! We are extremely grateful to have volunteers like you. Without our volunteers, Mano a Mano’s work would not be possible.

Loading 4 containers with 96,000+ pounds of surplus supplies in September 2015. (Karen is second from left in the black jacket, next to Mano a Mano co-founder Segundo Velasquez in the orange hat, and Ray is to the right of Segundo in the back.)

Here are just a few posts featuring Ray and Karen’s volunteer efforts with Mano a Mano from recent years (the list could be much longer!):

Martha (second from left). During a trip to Bolivia, Ray wrote about meeting Martha, and her journey to be able to walk again, with help from Mano a Mano.
Ray (in the background) as a happy recipient tries out his stroller. On February 1, 2020, Mano a Mano donated 162 pieces of mobility equipment and medical supplies to people in need in the Twin Cities. This project was a collaboration with Twin Cities-area physical therapists to help distribute mobility equipment to some of their clients that have difficulty acquiring needed items.

Videos with Ray and Karen on TPT

Mano a Mano partnered with TPT in 2019 to make a number of videos highlighting our volunteers in the Twin Cities that make our work possible. Check out 5 Mano a Mano videos on the TPT website here, and below are 2 of the videos featuring videos with Ray and Karen: