It was a journey to Peru, South America 3 years ago that sent the life of Andrew Vrbas in a completely new direction.
Andrew was a Hastings College student spending the spring semester of 2010 in the developing nation of Peru.
But this young construction management major learned a lot more than he could have imagined. What he learned is that has a very real desire to help his fellow man.
Andrew was on a bus in Peru when his qwest to clean up third world countries got underway, "Coming from Hastings, Nebraska to Cusco, Peru is where I was staying in southern Peru. Life definitely changed a lot, it kind of opened my eyes to the rest of the world. It was there that I was seeing things that I was obviously not used to seeing in the Midwest and it changed my life."
Like most Americans, Andrew didn't appreciate the magnitude of the world's hygiene problem. He says, "This business is the answer."
This 22-year-old humanitarian has made a point of setting his Pacha Soap business apart from other profit only soap companies, "We're making not only great quality soap, organic soap, it's great for the environment, great for your skin, but we're also trying to help with a social issue, that being hygiene in developing nations. Which not too many people know it, but there are statistics out there that prove that a lot of children die every due to lack of hand washing."
Andrew isn't satisfied with just giving underprivileged people soap, he wants to help them make it, "We're talking with people about setting up a possible factory in Peru. We've talked with people about something in Haiti, something in Rwanda and also Sri Lanka off the coast of India."
Andrew continues to reflect back on that fateful day 3 years ago in Peru, "You can't go back to the way to the way you used to live or the ideas that you used to have. If you have something that truly impacts your life and you know that you can't live another day unless you are working toward making a difference."
In Lincoln, you can find Pacha Soap at the Open Harvest store at 16th & South Streets.