Every Purchase Supports The Tolos Project
Posted on September 11 2020
Thank You for Caring!
Pit Liquor is a unique product from the start, but did you know every bottle of deodorant means more than just non-toxic, stink-free pits? (As if that wasn't enough to start with!)
Proceeds from purchases made at Distilled Bath and Body, LLC are also used to finance micro-loans and help people cover their medical costs in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa.
We used to live and work in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. This is us there visiting when we were 20 weeks pregnant with Eve (and just starting to work on Pit Liquor). By accident, we stumbled on this video and our friend Iliezer came to mind. We are thankful to have the chance to work with someone we have a long history with. Iliezer is a dear friend and we've done a lot of different kinds of work with him over the past 13 years as well as having spent a lot of time together both in person and over Skype.
We know Iliezer well and trust him implicitly. This picture is his family on their wedding date.
A lot of little things add up...
In January 2018, we made a business proposition to Iliezer. We told him we wanted to know if he had known needs in his community. We didn't even have to wait for the answer. Guinea-Bissau has been called the worst place in the world to be a woman, it has been in the top 10 poorest countries for most of the past decade. The country has had more political instability than I can stomach. And the people are hungry, sick, and struggling financially. He wrote us back with a list of families he knows who have immediate needs and he had brilliant ideas for how he wanted to support them. We wanted to follow his lead rather than proposing our own ideas, and the ongoing partnership has been beautiful. We want to center and empower Guinean solutions to Guinean problems, being a conduit for funds and that's exactly what is happening.
The picture above is a man who was so sick, doctors had given up on him. He didn't have any way to pay for medical care, and so the hospital wasn't able to treat him. Iliezer (left) came to pay for his medical care and the man went home to recover successfully with his family. His is one of many such stories.
On Christmas day 2017, we and our friends and community in Guinea-Bissau suffered a devastating loss. The man above, Tolentino, often called Tolos, passed away in Guinea-Bissau. He devoted his life to helping and caring for people in his country. He loved Guinea-Bissau with his entire heart and turned down opportunities to live abroad because he cared deeply for his "terra." He died of completely preventable causes, and his loss was felt around the world. We've had tear-filled conversations with friends in Brazil, Tunisia, Guinea-Bissau, and the USA about how his loss was felt.
Because of his life of service and his incredible, beautiful mission to love the people of Guinea-Bissau, we want to call this the Tolos Project. It is an outpouring of love for Guinea-Bissau, a place we consider a second home for our hearts. We've been involved with loving Guinea-Bissau for over a decade now. This grief and sadness we feel is turning into change that Tolos would have been delighted by. I still can't believe he's gone, and I will always remember the last thing I saw him doing: working in the rain and mud with a beautiful smile on his face. He was working on a water filter factory to make filters for the people of Guinea-Bissau at affordable prices.
Tolos was actively involved in working on a water filter project to make affordable water filters in Guinea-Bissau. It was the final project he set his hands to, and he worked at it for many years. This picture shows him working on testing and creating the filters. This is the first in-country filter factory where local jobs are created and filters are made at prices that local people can afford to pay. These filters prevent cholera and other common food-borne illnesses.
This is your story
Thanks for taking time to learn about the heart behind the Tolos Project. Pit Liquor is a fun, lighthearted product, but it has a serious impact as well. A little bit goes a long way in Guinea-Bissau, so we started sending money, and now it's growing because of the portion of it that is going in the form of micro-loans. We will send Tolos Project Updates as they become available. We look forward to seeing this grow and change and finding more opportunities for Pit Liquor proceeds to directly help people in Guinea-Bissau. Please keep quenching your stench and we'll keep using those purchases to make this world better. Thank you.