Public school teachers Elvis Alanoca, Basilio Mendoza, Elizabeth Cusi, and Grecia Rodríguez hitched a ride on the Mano a Mano aircraft in early September, avoiding what would otherwise have been a 6-7 day trip to arrive in the tropical communities in which they teach. Each of them is the only teacher in the multi-grade schools in these remote regions of Bolivia’s Beni department.
The teachers contacted the aviation office in Cochabamba to check on whether there might be a scheduled flight into the tropics before they needed to arrive at their schools. Learning that, yes, we could transport them alongside our usual medical and school supply cargo, they quickly traveled by bus from La Paz to Cochabamba to take the flight.
The aircraft landed on a small strip near the village of Asunta from which three could walk for several kilometers to reach their schools. The fourth traveled for another four hours via canoe to the yet more remote village of Ushve.
Mano a Mano provides the only consistent air transport into this region. The alternative transport by vehicle and then water is long and arduous at best, and dangerous under the most unfortunate circumstances.
(Drownings occur with too much frequency while crossing the rivers. To share one sad recent example, after a teacher and three students drowned when their canoe broke apart as they crossed a 100-foot-wide river on their way to school, several communities asked Mano a Mano to help them acquire aluminum canoes and boats; we shipped 3 canoes and a jon boat in 2020.)
“We know that flying on the Mano a Mano aircraft is safe and it only takes us 35 minutes from Cochabamba to Asunta. We are so happy when a flight is going toward Asunta when we need to travel there”, they say. “They don’t charge us the cost of the flight. We contribute for their fuel what we would pay for bus tickets to Trinidad, which is 5-6 days by land and water from Asunta. We’re so grateful to have this opportunity.”
Knowing that they would be dependant on local foods such as fish and yuca until their end-of-the-year break, each teacher carried a 4-month supply of potatoes, along with personal items. These teachers hail from Bolivia’s high-elevation Atliplano where potatoes form the essential component of the daily diet. “We cannot live without potatoes. We eat them 2-3 times every day.” They also carry other food supplies like macaroni and flour, knowing that are no stores in these communities.
Residents of Asunta met the aircraft to greet the teachers when they arrived. This community maintains the airstrip so the Mano a Mano plane can land safely there. They send their greetings and thanks to everyone who supports this program.
Learn More About Mano a Mano’s Aviation Program
- Celebrating 5 Years with a Cessna Caravan and Increased Capacity for our Aviation Program in Bolivia
- Aviation Brings Healthcare to Remote Underserved Communities in Bolivia (May 2023)
- Celebrating 15 Years of Laguna Sulty Reservoir and Progress on Mano a Mano Airport in Punata (May 2023)
- Daily Work Continues on Mano a Mano Airport (March 2023)
- Weekend Health Clinic in Potosí on March 4th-5th, 2023
- Weekend Health Clinic in San Javier, Bolivia on January 28-29
- Mano a Mano Flight for Jhonatan Acosta (March 2023)
- Mano a Mano Aviation Program: 2022 Results