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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Road in El Palmar Halfway Complete

Last week staff from Mano a Mano did a site inspection of our road project in El Palmar, Bolivia. Twenty-two of the 56 total kilometers are now finished, and when complete the road will connect the communities of Canon Verde and El Palmar in the department of Chuquisaca, Bolivia and provide access to the larger markets of Tarija and Santa Cruz. We hope to complete the road later this year.
Aerial view of completed section of the road
Finished section of road

Constructing these roads is a very difficult process. The road is being built through mountainsides and dense jungle, and staff have to live on-site for weeks at a time without seeing their families. Many of the areas are so isolated that they are only accessible by horse or on foot.

Mano a Mano staff on-site

Meeting with local leaders. The generator providing lighting is the only one in the region.
During the inspection we met with local leaders about the project, who are very excited about the road and happy with the current progress; roads are crucial in improving the lives of isolated rural communities in Bolivia. The municipality and community are actively involved in the project and are paying for a substantial portion of the costs themselves. Earlier this year Caterpillar, Inc. made a video highlighting their collaborative partnership with Mano a Mano and explaining why road projects such as this one in El Palmar are so important in Bolivia:

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