Our container of supplies recently arrived in Bolivia! In October of 2010, Mano a Mano US volunteers loaded 16,634 pounds of school supplies, wheelchairs, walkers, and other items. We have now shipped more than 3,000,000 pounds of supplies since 1994, valued conservatively at more than $10 million! These items were donated from hospitals, schools, and other institutions in the US and were destined for the landfill; while in Bolivia even the most basic items are not available. These supplies fill a critical need in insuring that the infrastructure projects that we build are well-equipped. Clinics without medical supplies and equipment are not functional; schools that do not have desks, chairs, and supplies do not last. While many of these items are bought or made in Bolivia – our staff at Mano a Mano Bolivia make the beds, desks, and chairs for our projects, and local Bolivian governments purchase items such as autoclaves, microscopes, and other equipment – we save money by being able to use donated supplies, freeing resources to be used in other areas.
Woman receiving walker from Mano a Mano Bolivia warehouse; we filled 691 requests for supplies in 2010

It is a long process to get through customs, but it was finally released in April and is now being distributed in Bolivia. We are currently planning our next shipment of 50,000+ pounds of supplies this summer.
Orthopedic supplies being loaded at Mano a Mano warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Orthopedic supplies being dropped off at our Mano a Mano Bolivia warehouse, where they will be distributed to our network of clinics and to individuals who make a request at the office

Our medical surplus distribution program is an extremely important component of our clinic program; without sufficient supplies we cannot provide high-level care to patients in our network of clinics. It is also one of the major incentives for retaining doctors in rural clinics. As Dr. Carlos Moises Guevara Retarnazo, a doctor in one of our rural clinics told us:

I had heard from my friend that the clinics are clean and well equipped, that there is no problem in getting supplies to use in treating patients, that the personnel in the Cochabamba office are available by phone every day to help with difficult cases, and that doctors receive more training from Dr. Ortu