Giving Thanks for the Spirit of Solidarity
Throughout the summer, Solidarity Bridge and Puente de Solidaridad partnered with local clinics in the departments of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba to carry out four mobile laparoscopic surgery campaigns. Each campaign relied upon a strong relationship with the partner clinics, dedicated medical professionals, in-kind donors, and a deep sense of community among patients and their families. In this collaborative way, we were able to successfully bring minimally invasive, life saving surgeries to areas with limited access to surgical intervention.
The campaigns served patients in Cochabamba, San Julian, La Pampa de la Isla, Quillacollo, and those that traveled from neighboring communities. Working alongside community partners, we served 17 patients in Quillacollo and more than 50 patients throughout the four campaigns. Many of these patients face economic constraints that prevented them from seeking medical attention sooner.
Beyond improving access to necessary medical care, these campaigns raise awareness of laparoscopic surgery, informing communities of the benefits of minimally invasive procedures. In this way, Puente de Solidaridad spreads hope and builds trust in communities that learn firsthand the potential of laparoscopic surgery—communities that may have had a very different understanding of what “surgery” means.
We value the trust that communities invest in their local medical providers, and in our Bolivian-led campaigns that arrive to offer surgical interventions. Throughout the campaigns, the support of the community and the participation of family members emerges as a prominent theme and an integral part of the healing process. The role of family and community in the campaigns embodies the principle of mutuality that Puente de Solidaridad and Solidarity Bridge uphold; just as our work benefits the communities, the communities and family members benefit our mission through offering their support and trust.
This sense of solidarity is celebrated in the closing Mass following each campaign, which provides the opportunity for the local clinic’s medical and administrative staff, patients and their families, and the Puente de Solidaridad team to come together and celebrate life. The Mass that concluded each campaign was dedicated to giving thanks, and to recognizing the strong ties between all of the individuals that played crucial roles in the successful campaigns.