Right now we’re counting down the days until our first project comes to fruition. Inzozi Nziza (“Sweet Dreams”) will be Rwanda’s first ever local ice cream shop, epitomising what Blue Marble Dreams is all about: the power of ice cream, and entrepreneurship, to bring happiness and prosperity to people around the world.
Can ice cream really do all that? To understand why, let’s go back to the beginning of our story, when Blue Marble’s founders, Jennie and Alexis, met a Rwandan, Odile Gakire Katesi (better known as Kiki), at the Sundance Institute. Hearing about their work, Kiki approached the pair with an idea.
She explained that while conventional development initiatives are vital to Rwanda’s physical wellbeing, there remains a need for efforts that boost the spirit of its people. Just as much as they need nutritious food and clean water, Kiki asserted, Rwandans need fun, joy, pleasure and laughter, as these are the ingredients of a life truly lived. And what better way to meet this need than through the sweet, symbolic magic of ice cream?
Here, in her own words, is why Kiki believes in Blue Marble:
“Because we struggle most of the time, we also find ourselves aggressive against happiness, love, joy, life. When we have children, we teach them that happiness doesn’t exist, that there is no pure love and, as legacy, we give them our despair, our debts, our doubts, our tears, our failures. Rwandan women … want to reshape life in its simple and sweetest form. We want to share moments that are not embossed by despair and death… We want to create a space where poverty, disease, illiteracy… are not obstacles to happiness and barriers between human beings… We have to, for the sake of the health of our soul. The ice cream will have the power to reconcile people with life by providing privileged moments when life reminds them that it is also sweet.”
That was the dream… and now it’s just two months from reality. Inzozi Nziza will open in June, providing education and a sustainable business to the women of Ingoma Nshya, and a source of joy and happiness to the people of Butare.
All this means you’re joining us at a busy time. Among our priorities right now are English and computing lessons for local women, a re-fit for our premises near the National University in Butare, and the sourcing of our final few local ingredients. We’re heading into uncharted territory, and you can follow our progress, from these early beginnings to opening day (and beyond) here on the blog. Hope you enjoy the journey…