Logistical Support Services
Our greatest asset that we bring to EWB chapters is our Logistical Support Services. From the time an EWB chapter adopts a project, we partner with them in every aspect of logistics, communications, in-country transportation, materials procurement and delivery, translation and many other aspects.
Visas, and duty free import:
Because of connections within the country and within the government, you start out ahead when you partner with EIA. As a response to a U.S. imposed visa fee of $141 on Bolivians traveling to the U.S.; Bolivia has countered with a $135 visa on American citizens traveling to Bolivia. While we haven’t accomplished it yet, we are hoping to get a waiver of these fees from the Bolivian Government for EWB work teams. Stay tuned.
Often times equipment brought in by work teams have an import fee required on it. These fees can be VERY expensive. Again, because of our connections within the government, we can often get these fees waived for EWB equipment. Just make sure we know EXACTLY what is coming and when.
Communications with the local Village
In many ways our most critical support service is communications with the local community throughout the year leading up to your team’s visit. EWB chapters have many horror stories from around the world where situations changed in the local village, but that never got communicated back to the EWB chapter and the whole trip was wasted or canceled.
At EIA, we stay in touch with the local community, going back several times before your team arrives. Usually we make a final trip the week before you arrive to make sure that everything is in place.
And we stay in constant contact with you. There are three different email addresses that you can stay in contact with:
Thanks to a gift from the Tulsa Southside Rotary Club, we also have an IP phone which is a local call to Tulsa, Oklahoma; and rings in our office in La Paz. To ring our office in La Paz, just call 1-918-481-9009. The answering machine will say; ”Edge Technologies”. Simply dial in our extension #114 and that will ring our office in La Paz, Bolivia. Ain’t technology cool?
Transportation in Bolivia
Throughout your stay in Bolivia EIA will provide all of your transportation needs within the country, from the trip from the airport to your hotel when you arrive, to short commuter flights within Bolivia or bus/vehicle transportation to your worksite. We simply charge you our costs for this transportation.
We will also make your reservations at any hotel that you may need. We know how EWB chapters are always fighting to save money, and we know where to put you; whether in La Paz, Rurrenbaque, Potosi or Santa Cruz.
We also make sure that the community is prepared to house you at your worksite. We provide sleeping bags so that you don’t have to carry them down on the plane, thus leaving you with more room for other things. We also provide straw mats if you are sleeping on the floor.
One of the important parts of working in Bolivia is to experience the local food. We want you to experience the local foods at your worksite; but stay healthy so you can work. Consequently, we have trained indigenous cooks who will travel with your team and purchase the fresh food locally, prepare the kinds of food that is local to that area; but do it in a manner that will be ‘safe’ for the team and keep them healthy. We have had very little experience with diarrhea from the EWB team who use our cooks. Again, we only charge our costs for the food and the salaries of the cooks.
We will also advise you on places to eat when you are in La Paz or any other city in Bolivia.
Often times EWB chapters feel that there is a need for additional translators then what they have on their team. EIA can provide you with translators, often university students who are wanting to work on their English skills. We simply charge you for the salary of the students.
Materials procurement and delivery
As your EWB team develops a list of materials which are needed for the worksite, our EIA engineers will search the area for suppliers of that material, and will work to find the best price for the materials needed. As a North American, just walking in to the first store you see and ordering concrete block or whatever is needed can be a very costly move. It is important to have experience and a knowledge of the culture to get the best possible price for your materials. Milton de la Cruz, one of our engineers, has been building and working as an engineer in Bolivia for over 30 years and he knows where to purchase materials for the best price.
We also make sure that the materials are at your worksite when you arrive. Again, there are many stories of EWB chapters working with other partners around the globe showing up at their worksite and find that their materials haven’t arrived, or perhaps haven’t even been ordered; and the team has no materials to work with while they are there.
Knowledge of the climate, politics, and what do in emergencies
Our EIA staff simply has experience that you can’t get if you are on your own. What time of year are the monsoons? Are the roads passable during the time you want to come? What kinds of clothes should you bring? What is going on politically at the moment and how will effect your team? If someone gets hurt, where are the nearest hospitals?
These are all questions that our EIA staff can answer. And we stay in close contact with you throughout your time in Bolivia.