MMI in Bolivia

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A young nun was so impressed with our work in Peru after receiving care herself, that she advocated that we should have a presence in Bolivia. In 2003, MMI sent the first project team to this country. 

                  Yenny & Francis Perez - MMI Bolivia Project Leader

                  Yenny & Francis Perez - MMI Bolivia Project Leader

In 2005,  MMI launched MMI Bolivia under the direction of Francis Perez, an MMI project leader, who grew up in a small Dominican Republic village annually visited by our project teams. Francis saw the work of MMI and wanted to help serve as a translator the next time the group would visit his village. He began to teach himself English in preparation for the team’s return the next year—and the rest is history! MMI Canada continues supporting Francis, Yenny and the Bolivia team. Francis still serves as Director for this region and this program has experienced dramatic growth in the recent years. We would encourage you to go on any project with this great group of people. 

Project Sites:

Camiri


Montero is located 1 hour north of Santa Cruz, with a population of about 110,000 people. Montero has experienced growth in recent decades, becoming an important city in this region.

Agriculture and fishing are the two main economical sources of income, being the land mainly owned by a few families and the rest work for them. The area produces soybeans, cotton, corn and rice. The region is also well known by the Sugar factories located just outside of town. This is a very impoverished area, and the majority of the people come from the highlands and high plains.

* Project Description: This Mission will be co-sponsor by the Brethren’s Church, who knowing about the work of MMI, decided to invite us to collaborate with the vision for the community. The incidence of STDs, HIV and AIDS is a growing and raising concern among the healthcare workers.

Elevation
300m (984 ft)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

La Guardia


La Guardia is a town of 50,000 in the Santa Cruz Department of Bolivia. It is the 16th most populous town in the country, and is the fastest growing town in Bolivia.

* Project Description: La Guardia is a rural, impoverished community located 30 minutes west of Santa Cruz. In this area, the inhabitants are workers of the farms and families live with the income of one person, which averaged $5.00 a day, which represent less than the amount per/person that describe the extreme poverty line (1.25) families are usually 7 members. Typically the people in the area only go to the doctor in an emergency. People in La Guardia, have a 2nd level hospital with some services, but they struggle for the monies to afford medications.

Elevation
506m (1660 ft)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Los Tajibos


Los Tajibos is a rural, impoverished community located 220 minutes west of Cotoca. In this area, the inhabitants are clay makers and families live with the income of one person, which averaged $5.00 a day, which represent less than the amount per/person that describe the extreme poverty line (1.25) families are usually 7 members.

Traditionally, they will have a doctor’s visit, just in case of an emergency. People in Los Tajibos, have a health center, with a Physician who comes one a week, but they struggle to the monies to afford medications. There is not dentist available in the community and those in Cotoca are too expensive for their present economy.

* Project Description: This Project will supply the need for healthcare in the communities of Los Tajibos and Moliendita. A Medical and Dental clinic will be held from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Our hosts will be the IDI (Food for the Hunger Korea) program and the Mennonite Church. Our team will stay at a central base in Santa Cruz and will be traveling to the communities each day.

Elevation
189m (620 ft)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Mineros/Norte Integrado


Norte Integrado and Mineros is a 100,000 people region located 1 to 1 ½ hours north of Santa Cruz; Agriculture and fishing are the two main economical sources of income, being the land mainly owned by a few families and the rest work for them. This is a very impoverished area, where the majority of the people came from the highlands and high plains. The region is also well known by the Sugar factories located just outside of town. The Municipality, knowing about the work of MMI, decided to invite us to collaborate with the vision for the community.

* Project Description: The Mineros Project is intended to provide medical, optometry, artificial eyes, and dental services to the most needed inhabitants of Obispo Santisteban Province; as well as to provide training to the Health Care Workers of the Hospital and Health Centers.

Elevation
373 m (1224 ft)

Climate
The average August temperature ranges from a high of 31°C (88°F) to a low of 20°C (68°F)
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Montero


Montero is located 1 hour north of Santa Cruz, with a population of about 110,000 people. Montero has experienced growth in recent decades, becoming an important city in this region.

Agriculture and fishing are the two main economical sources of income, being the land mainly owned by a few families and the rest work for them. The area produces soybeans, cotton, corn and rice. The region is also well known by the Sugar factories located just outside of town. This is a very impoverished area, and the majority of the people come from the highlands and high plains.

* Project Description: This Mission will be co-sponsor by the Brethren’s Church, who knowing about the work of MMI, decided to invite us to collaborate with the vision for the community. The incidence of STDs, HIV and AIDS is a growing and raising concern among the healthcare workers.

Elevation
300m (984 ft)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Portachuelo


Portachuelo is the capital of the province of Sara in the north of Santa Cruz. It is one of the poorest counties. The main industries are cattle and agriculture. There is one general practice physician per 2700 people. The team will be working in a rural area of the province, which is still part of Portachuelo but not exactly in town.

Elevation
298m (978 ft)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

San Carlos


San Carlos is one of the poorest Counties of the Stated of Santa Cruz. It has 25,000 people spread in the main town and other districts. The main activity is agriculture; they grow oranges, rice and cocoa. The land is mainly own by a few families and the rest of the people work for them. The county is also rich in sand and clay for the construction.

In San Carlos, there is one General Practice Physician per every 3,200 inhabitants. 3 Dentists for the whole population and 2 OB-GYN doctors attends all the calls of the county. There is also a General Surgeon and one Pediatrician. Ongoing prevention programs are not available and the number of preventable deceases is considerably growing. There is 1 Radiologist working half time. The MMI teams have been providing an answer to the backlog of surgical cases, and supplying the need for Dental services, Optometry and healthcare in general.

* Project Description: The San Carlos’ Medical / Dental / Surgical Project, is intended to provide medical care to the poor with none or limited access to that kind of services in the county. San Carlos, is the Capital County of the Province of Ichilo in the north of Santa Cruz, medical, dental and surgical care are available, but very limited. The hospital does not have enough personnel or supplies to provide the demand.

Elevation
345m (1131 ft)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

San Juan


San Juan is an impoverished community in the state of Santa Cruz located in the lower side of the Yapacani River. Most of the 26,0270 inhabitants spread throughout the main town and other communities make a living through agriculture: rice, cane sugar, and mandarine oranges.

The Yapacani River causes a lot of flooding during the rainy season. There is so much rain that most of communities we serve have been isolated due to the flooding. These waters can cause skin conditions, intestinal infections, and respiratory conditions reducing the villagers ability to work.

Elevation
334 m (1096 ft.)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Santa Rosa


Santa Rosa is one of the poorest Counties of the States of Santa Cruz. It has 25,000 people spread in the main town and 10 other districts. The main activity is agriculture; they grow oranges, bananas, rice and beans. The land is mainly owned by a few families and the rest of the people work for them. The county is also rich in natural gas.

* Project Description: On this project we’ll be able to meet the needs for primary care and the communities outside of Santa Rosa, where the physicians get only once every month or less for some communities. Proving the medicine to the patient is another way to assure the completion of the prescribe treatment and one of the strength of the project. We are building capacity and empowering the staff, so that they can improve their services and quality to the poor.

Elevation
270 m (886 ft.)

Climate
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Sucre


Sucre is the capital of the State of Chuquisaca. It has 500,000 inhabitants spread in the main town and other districts. The main activity is agriculture; they grow corn, vegetables, fruits, and so on…. The land is mainly own by a few families and the rest of the people work for them. The county is also rich in natural gas and oil.

Chuquisaca continues to be one of the neediest States in regards to Ophthalmology. The number of surgical cases is increasing. One of the busier Ophthalmologists in town is only performing 2 to 4 cataract surgeries a month, which limits a lot the response that the health system is giving to the current situation.

Most of the people we serve are not able to purchase glasses when prescribed because of the low income they have.

* Project Description: In 2017, this was a clinical and surgical project where the main clinic days was held at the Alba Sports Complex. Over 4,000 patients were attended to in the clinic and surgical areas. A large collection of prescription glasses was available for those who required glasses after their consultation.

Elevation
2,810 meters (9,214 feet)

Climate

Cool temperate climate year-round.
On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Sucre, Bolivia

Tarija


Tarija is the capital of the State of Tarija. It has 250,000 inhabitants spread in the main town and other districts. The main activity is agriculture; they grow grapes, peaches, garlic, and so on…. The land is mainly owned by a few families and the rest of the people work for them. The county is also rich in natural gas and oil.

Tarija continues to be one of the neediest States in regards to Ophthalmology. The number of surgical cases is increasing. One of the busier Ophthalmologists in town is only performing 2 to 4 cataract surgeries a month, which limits the response that the health system is giving to the current situation. Most of the people we serve are not able to purchase glasses when prescribed because of the low income they have.

* Project Description: The main clinic days were held at the School of Nursing right at the University Campus. Over 4,000 patients were attended to in the clinic and surgical areas. A large collection of prescription glasses was available for those who required glasses after their consultation.

Elevation
1,853 m (6,083 ft.)

Climate
The months October, November and December have nice weather with a good average temperature.
Average min and max temperatures in Tupiza, Bolivia

Uyuni & Potosi


Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal 4,090 meters (13,420 Ft.) and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint.

Uyuni is at 213km from Potosi. It has an approximate population of 52000 inhabitants. The desert has a surface area of 10582km2. It is the largest salt desert of the world. It also has colorful volcanic mountains that reach altitudes of 6000 meters above sea level.

* Project Description: The type of the project is Medical/Dental; the idea is to bring health assistance to different places each day, working with churches, health centers and schools.

Elevation
3,656 m (11,995 ft)

Climate
Average temperature in November will be from 40°F to 69°F.
Average min and max temperatures in Tupiza, Bolivia

Yapacani


Yapacani is one of the poorest Counties of the Stated of Santa Cruz. It has 40,000 people spread in the main town and other districts. The main activity is agriculture; they grow oranges, Macadamia, Bananas and Coconut. The land is mainly own by a few families and the rest of the people work for them.

In Yapacani, there is one General Practice Physician per every 2,800 inhabitants. 3 Dentists for the whole population and 4 OB-GYN doctors attends, but only one of them does some surgeries. There is also a General Surgeon and one Pediatrician. Ongoing prevention programs are not available and the number of preventable deceases is considerably growing.

* Project Description: On this project and by the request of the Municipality and the Municipal Department of Health, the surgical team will provide the patients with an opportunity to have access to a surgery in their own community and only contribute a small but significant amount depending on the case.

Elevation
295m (967 ft)

Climate

On average, the temperatures are always high.
Average min and max temperatures in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Travelling on a Project

Entry & Exit Requirements


Travelers must present a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure. Departure tax is required upon exit. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required, specifically if you have visited a country where yellow fever occurs, and there is a risk of yellow fever in this country. Travelers must be in possession of a return plane ticket.

• Americans: Travel visa is required. Tourist visas for United States citizens will now be valid for ten years, and it is necessary to obtain prior to project. The admittance is for a period of 30 calendar days extendable by request to the Directorate General of Immigration for two similar periods; themselves that can be continuous or discontinuous in the period of year. For more information please see:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/bolivia
http://www.boliviawdc.org/consulate/visas/tv

• Canadians: Travel visa is not required for stays of less than 30 days. Please check the following website for the most current entry/exit requirements:
https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/bolivia

• International: Please contact MMI office or Raptim Humanitarian Travel for visa requirement updates.

Application Requirements


Please email ALL CREDENTIALS upon application.

• For everyone, we need:
- Colour Scan / Photocopy of Passport (photo page)
- Colour photo for your name badge (any good photo, we can adjust size)
- Travel Itinerary
- Supply Lists

• Medical Professionals, we also need your:
- Current License (through time of project)
- Diploma (Techs, Nursing, Dental, MD and Board Certifications)
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume (this also will help the Project Director know your skills & experience to assign you a task on the project, especially for 1st time participants)

• Health Care Students: Letter of Good Standing from your school (including year of study and graduation date).

• All MINORS travelling with only one parent, or without their parents, will need a letter from BOTH parents stating that it is OK for the child to travel with one parent or an appointed guardian. The letter should be signed and notarized. MMI needs a copy of this letter, and the parent or guardian should carry the orignial letter while travelling.

Travel


Once you have been accepted on the project, you can contact our designated travel agency to arrange your travel and coordinate your arrival the team.

Raptim Humanitarian Travel: www.raptim.org

• US Applicants: Travel costs are arranged directly with the travel agent and are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “Serve Team 2”: ServeTeam2.us@raptim.org
Direct Toll Free: 1-844-882-3233 and ask for the agents by name or extension.
Lead Agents – Claudia (ext. 13302), or Michael (ext. 15004).

• Canadian Applicants: Donations to MMI for travel are in addition to the Participant Project Donation.
Contact our “We Partner” team: wepartner.na@raptim.org
905-465-4300 or Toll Free: 1-844-442-6978 & ask for the agents by name.
Lead Agents - Anca (ext. 32327), or Connie.

• International Applicants: Travel arrangement can be procured locally or following the Canadian instructions above.

• Airport: Viru Viru International Airport (VVI), Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Lodging and Accomodations


MMI will arrange local accomodations for the team.
• Laundry Service: usually available for additional fee
• AC: dependent on location
• Phone Service: check with your cell phone provider, roaming is very expensive
• Wifi/Internet: dependent on locations
• Voltage: 220V.(converter or adaptor required)
• Meals: MMI will provide meals for the team. Dietary restrictions can be indicated on your application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Be sure to bring your own re-usable water bottle with a wide mouth for refilling. Purified water is supplied.

Culture

• Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and other native languages.
• Religion:
- Roman Catholic: 76.8%
- Evangelical and Pentecostal: 8.1%
- Protestant: 7.9%
- Others: 7.0%
• Government: Presidential Republic

Currency


The money in Bolivia is called Bolivianos (BOB). MMI staff will help you exchange money. All major credit cards are accepted - Visa and MasterCard the most widely accepted (make sure to call your credit card company and let them know that you’ll be traveling internationally). Traveler’s cheques are not easily cashed. You must bring US dollars in good condition. Torn, stamped or old bills will not be exchanged. $100 bills older than 2006 are also not accepted.

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About Bolivia

COUNTRY BACKGRound

Bolivia is striving to improve its services in several areas of health and development, including poverty, education, malnutrition, mortality, and life expectancy. More children are being vaccinated and more pregnant women are getting prenatal care and having skilled health practitioners attend their births. Bolivia's income inequality is the highest in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. Public education is developing and educational opportunities are among the most unevenly distributed in Latin America, with girls and indigenous and rural children less likely to be literate or to complete primary school. Bolivia's lack of clean water and basic sanitation, especially in rural areas, contributes to health problems. The economy in Bolivia continues to undergo transitions as the country desperately searches for a more self-sustaining system that will release it from its almost complete dependence on traditional global trade models.

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon Bolivar, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982.  Leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty. Efforts are ongoing to empower the nation’s poor and indigenous people.

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION:

Central South America, southwest of Brazil

GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES:

17 00 S, 65 00 W

MAP REFERENCES:

South America

LAND BOUNDARIES:

TOTAL:

6,940 km

BORDER COUNTRIES:

Argentina 832 km                                                                     Brazil 3,423 km                                                                       Chile 860 km                                                                     Paraguay 750 km                                                                     Peru 1,075 km

COASTLINE:

0 km (landlocked)

MARITIME CLAIMS:

None (landlocked)

CLIMATE:

Varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semi-arid

TERRAIN:

Rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

ELEVATION EXTREMES:

LOWEST POINT:

Rio Paraguay - 90 m

HIGHEST POINT:

Nevado Sajama - 6,542 m

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