|(Training pics are full size; some more recent pictures -- with a bluish outline -- can be clicked to enlarge)
St. Paul, MN
1967 Training Biography
click photo to enlarge
(1) Joan and Segundo Velsquez, 2007.
1967 -- July 1969)
Opened and ran a day care center for 50 kids ages 2-5 whose moms worked as maids or sold in the open market. Center funding was taken on by Bolivian government; the center still functions. Taught four English classes weekly. Worked with Amigos de la Alianza, helping select projects for them to fund in the Cochabamba area.
Worked as clinical social worker, then program developer for Spanish speaking clients, then researcher in mental health and social services, all for county government. Completed Ph.D. in social science research and published a few articles in social science journals.
I have returned to Bolivia several times; last in 2005. Cochabamba was nearly unrecognizable - tall buildings, paved streets up into the cerros..
In 1994, Segundo and I founded Mano a Mano Medical Resources to address critical health needs in Bolivia. We started by collecting medical surplus in Minnesota and shipping It to Bolivia for distribution. Mano a Mano has grown Incredibly, has built and runs a network of 76 community health clinics, plus various other projects . We continue to volunteer full time to run the organization in the U.S.
Building Mano A Mano has brought medical resources -- many millions of dollars -- into Bolivia for a number of years now. Mano A Mano accepts donations as well as selling gifts to raise monies.
PC In Your Life
Becoming fluent in Spanish and immersed in Latino culture focused my work life on the Latino community in St. Paul. Having initiated Mano a Mano, I feel that we are continuing the kind of community-based work that exemplified the best of Peace Corps.
Best/Worst PC Experience
One of the best things: Having the opportunity to watch a two-year-old, who was too weak to walk when he came to our day care center, gain strength and one day just stand up on this own; then, hearing the other kids scream with excitement, "Senorita Juani, Jimmy esta caminando."
One of the worst things: Riding in a railroad box car with several indigenous women (all probably much older) who insisted that I sit on the only available bale of hay while they sat on the floor.
One of the special things: The dozens of monopoly games with Dwight and Peg Steen; sewing maternity clothes for Peg.
In the Future
|Continue to work with Mano a Mano.
Favorites to Share
the Sun - a beautiful Swedish love story
Books: Zorro by Isabel Allende
Websites: Mano A Mano and The Democracy Center