In 1994, Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide. Of the two tribes involved (Hutu and Tutsi), close to a million were killed by neighbors, friends, even family. Horror swept the land. And when it was over, those who remained were broken, dead inside.
The country has made great strides in economic recovery, but “people are not like roads and buildings” says Kiki Katese, Woman You Should Know and pioneering Rwandan theater director. “How do we rebuild a human being?”
Kiki decided to start Ingoma Nshya (“New Kingdom”), Rwanda’s first and only all-female drumming troupe, for women from both sides of the conflict. There was only one requirement: to leave the categories of the past at the gate.
For the women, 60 orphans, widows, wives and children of perpetrators, the group has been a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships, to heal the wounds of the past. Yet the struggle to survive and provide for their families still persists.
So when Kiki came up with the idea to open Rwanda’s first and only ice cream shop, the women were intrigued… what was ice cream exactly and how would they do it?
Kiki invited Jennie and Alexis , the two dynamic women entrepreneurs behind Brooklyn’s famed Blue Marble Ice Cream, to come to Rwanda to help the drummers open their shop, which they aptly named Inzozi Nziza (Sweet Dreams).
Despite being a country of milk and honey, Rwandans have never tasted ice cream and the women are convinced this sweet cool treat has the power to soothe their village.
The award-winning documentary SWEET DREAMS follows this remarkable and inspiring group of Rwandan women as they embark on their journey of independence, peace and possibility and emerge from the devastation of the genocide to create a new future for themselves. We all got chills from the film’s trailer below… and cannot wait to see the film!
SWEET DREAMS is being screening in New York City at the Quad Cinema from Nov. 1st – 7th. Other screenings will following across the country).