Sunday, April 13, 2014

20 Years of Glorious Work!

Last evening I was among about 300 people who gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Mano a Mano. Starting on a kitchen table in Mendota Heights, MN, the achievements are beyond what anyone could have imagined then!

Now Mano a Mano has built 145 clinics that provide health services for 700,000 persons in Bolivia, who before had none or very limited access to health care. Mano a Mano has constructed 1400 kilometers of roads in Bolivia. These roads help those living in very isolated areas to now have access to markets and other services. They have constructed 7 large reservoirs and 170 water ponds to store water during the rainy season,,for use during the 9 months when there isn't any precipitation. They have built 49 schools along with housing for teachers as well as community toilets -- thus improving the life of rural people greatly.

Since starting a small air service, Mano a Mano has airlifted 2,166 patients for emergency health services in larger cities.

And with collections from basically only the Twin Cities area, Mano a Mano has delivered 3.5 million pounds of medical, school, and construction supplies. Most of these materials were destined for landfills, and instead were highly useful and found a great new home in Bolivia.

And as one of the board members said at the celebration last night, this year Mano a Mano had its finest hour! It is the only NGO that assisted people who were made homeless by the huge flood in the Beni Department. Hearing stories of dropping food to people living in trees because all of the ground surface is flooded makes one think every volunteer hour going to Mano a Mano is going to an organization that deserves everything we can contribute. 

When we arrived we were invited to see some exhibits about some special efforts. One is called Nino a Nino, and is operated by a school boy. After a visit to Bolivia he decided to somehow help with funding a school. He makes presentations all around the area and collects pennies! The men in the picture are from a company who sells coffee and tea. They have developed a blend using Bolivian coffee beans and call in Joey's Blend. Profit from the sell of this coffee blend go to the Nino a Nino program.

 It was great to see an exhibit about the new Center for Ecological Agriculture, a place I visited in person only about 3 weeks ago, and described in posts on this blog with March dates.

In another room a new book, Gaining Ground, was available to sale. This book is about the principles used by Mano a Mano to make all of the above efforts sustainable and how a philosophy has been created that makes it possible for a considerable amount of work to be done by volunteers.

We had great table conversation and everyone was just happy and delighted to be a this wonderful event.

I'm not proud -- I'll ask for money for this wonderful organization. If any reader is so inclined -- please click here. At this same site you may click on other menu items to help you learn more about this organization's wonderful work.

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