The Pacha Story
By Andrew Vrbas ’12
“I want Pacha Soap to be more than just a quality product for the consumer: I want it to be a means to promote health and well-being on a global scale.”
During one of my daily bus commutes in the Peruvian Andes, I found myself unable to concentrate on the book I normally brought along for the hour-long trip. Maybe it was the bumpy mountain pass or the crates of restless chickens that caused me to look out the window at the passing scenery. I had ridden on that route many times; it was just another day. But it wasn’t. That day, I really saw, for the first time, the mud houses, the families digging potatoes, a mother and daughter walking along the road, clothed in hand-woven fabrics colored with natural dyes. The bus’s transmission clunked as the driver downshifted to make it up a steep hill. I sat contemplating the images I was seeing pass before my eyes. These people were connected to the earth in a way that my culture had forgotten.
The bus’s sudden turn interrupted my epiphany. I asked the Quechua woman seated next to me why the driver had stopped and turned off the main road. “Porque el puente ha caído a causa de las inundaciones,” she replied. The bridge had been swept away by the floods. The recent flooding in the Sacred Valley had been unusually severe. And, as the city of Cusco operated primarily off the income of tourists coming to see Inca ruins, most notably Machu Picchu, the floods had cut off the main source of income for the people of the region. Thousands of the native people were without work, in this land of rich natural resources. It was the same earth – or “pacha,” in the people’s native tongue of Quechua – that had once supplied every need for their ancestors.
My mind was a melting pot for the next hour of the bus ride. I tried to think about what I could do to help. Thus, on that dirt road in the Peruvian Andes, amidst the clamoring chickens, Pacha Soap was born.
Andrew has assembled quite a team for Pacha Soap. The 2012 grad plans to continue to lead Pacha, beginning with its new “Raise the Bar” campaign, for which the company intends to donate a bar of soap for every bar sold and to partner with a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is working to provide world-wide hygiene education.
The Pacha Team welcomes folks interested to contact them either by following them on Facebook and Twitter or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.