Owner, Gudelio Gongora shows the 1st machine he made to bag the juices.

I can think of at least 5 good reasons why you should drink out of a bag:

1.) Extremely portable

2.) Easy to produce

3.) Easily recyclable

4. Can be frozen and double as cooler pack

5.) Form fitting to backpacks, light weight… and the list goes on…

Bagged water and juices are popular all over Latin America. You will see them in school yards, grocery stores, buses, and for sale at roadside food stands.  They are easy to use: tear at the edge with your teeth, suck out the juice, & throw the bag away.

Gudelio Gongora and his wife Edelvia own Tutsi Nimbus, the premier bagged drink company in Belize City, BZ.  After many trips to the Yucatan in Mexico and around northern Belize, where bagged drinks, popularly named “Ideals’ were sold, the Gongoras decided to open their own business.  The name ‘Tutsi’ was the brainchild of Edelvia. The original label featured a little boy and then their signature toucan. In a climate where hydration is king, Tutsi quickly became popular.   Mr. Gongora, a builder, rigged up his own bike-powered filling and sealing station.  He copied the metal lined machines he had studied, and fabricated a clamping system that allowed him to make up to three thousand bag drinks per day.

Thirty three years later, and fourteen employees strong, Tutsi Numbus now makes juices, purified water, and Tutsi Milky, a dairy based cold drink in fruit and chocolate flavors. The production has increased to 30 bags per minute on an automated machines. Tutsi uses two of these machines.  The production increase is exponential.

Tutsi’s products start with filtered and purified water.  The water can be bagged and sold as a Nimbus, or is then made in to a milky or fruity, Tutsi ideal.  Raw pure sugar from Belize is mixed into the water, along with custom made natural flavors.  “I searched to find the right good flavors all around Central America.  We went to Guatemala and found a company that makes special, just-for-Tutsi blends of natural flavors.” said Gongora.

Mornings at the factory are abuzz with activity.  Trucks load Tutsi Nimbus for grocery distribution, and vendors pedal large lorry-style bicycles to the storefront, stocking up for their day’s sales at Belize City schools. The entire Gongora family has been involved with making the business a continued success.

Humility and sincerity reflected in  Mr. Gongora’s tone when he said, “We made this for our family.  To support them and to help them.”

The family company has also been highly active in social programs around Belize including their support of the Red Cross, Salvation Army, community fairs, school camps and scholarships.  More recently, Tutsi has upped the ante by going social on facebook, providing promotions and a connection for fans young and old, to a much beloved product.

“I used to get a Tutsi and a meat pie everyday at school. Its part of growing up in Belize.” said Maynor Larrieu.  “I still like to get one frozen or ‘hard’ as we say in Kriol.  They are really good in the hot summer.” added Evan Young.

Tutsi has modified its look, adding the colorful ‘Touky the Toucan’ as its mascot. Touky travels all over Belize visiting the fairs, expos and charity events that Tutsi supports.  “We had a promotion and Touky had a special dance. Kids all over Belize were ‘Doing the Touky’.” said Azalia Gongora, Gudelio and Edelvia’s daughter.

Tutsi and Nimbus are refreshing and sweet. They are fantastic for families traveling around Belize and cost about 25cents US per pouch.  Find them online at www.tutsinimbus.com or on Facebook and Twitter. You can see the Touky dance on facebook.


#57 Vernon and Zericote Street, Belize City, Belize Central America.

Tel 501-222-4142  email g.gongora@tutsinimbus.com

One thought on “The ideal and the toucan

  1. So good to hear a success story from small beginnings to an accomplished feat.
    Healthy drinks where hydration is needed.

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