02-22-2018  6:31 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Last Day to Apply for Affordable Housing is Feb. 22

Longtime and displaced residents of N/NE Portland receive preference for new housing, apply before midnight Thursday ...

NAACP Announces Key Partnerships

Voter mobilization for 2018 midterm elections takes precedence among issues uniting groups ...

Winter Donations Needed, Warming Centers Open Through Thursday

Locals encouraged to check on neighbors, winter gear needed ...

August Wilson Monologue Competition Takes Place Feb. 26

Standby tickets are still available for event ...

Portland Author Renée Watson to Read From ‘Betty Before X’ at North Portland Library Feb. 24

Book, coauthored by Ilyasah Shabazz, focuses on life of Dr. Betty Shabazz as a young person ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Raising Emotionally Competent Children

Lynette Monrie on how her grandparents taught her to love herself I don't remember my grandparents assisting me with homework beyond...

Black Dollars Matter: The Sales Impact of Black Consumers

Black consumers are spending jumi.2 trillion annually and are demanding that brands speak to them in ways that resonate...

Guest Opinion: Skipper Osborne’s Testimony on HB 4005

In testimony to legislature, Osborne says bill could decrease access to important therapies ...

Celebrating Diversity at PCC

President of Portland Community College's Cascade Campus reflects on recent vandalism and the uptick in public racism and sexism ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Kam Williams Special to The Skanner News

The 1994 Civil War left the beleaguered African nation of Rwanda a bloody mess, both literally and figuratively. Not only had the warring tribes, the Hutus and the Tutsis, hacked each other to death with machetes to the tune of about a million bodies scattered across the countryside, but to this day many of the survivors of the ethnic cleansing remain totally traumatized by the slaughter they'd witnessed.

Consequently, much of the populace still walks around in a daze sporting blank, 1,000 yard stares some refer to as battle fatigue or shell shock which shrinks refer to clinically as post-traumatic stress syndrome. For, it is understandable that it might hard to get over a conflict which pitted neighbor against neighbor, and even relative against relative.

One survivor, theater director Kiki Katese, determined to do something to alleviate the suffering, asked, "How do you rebuild a human being?" So, she founded Ingoma Nshya (meaning "new drum, new kingdom"), an all-female drumming troupe comprised of both Tutsis and Hutus, with admission being conditioned on checking ones tribal allegiance at the door. Besides affording the 60-strong membership an opportunity to pound rhythmically on congas, the gathering simultaneously served as a support group offering healing and reconciliation.

In 2010, Kiki came up with another innovative idea, namely, opening Rwanda's first ice cream parlor. This time, she enlisted the support of Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen, proprietors of a place located half a world away in Brooklyn called Blue Marble Ice Cream.

The game New Yorkers answered the call, traveling to Rwanda to help Kiki realize that dream. Together they created Sweet Dreams, a shop owned and operated cooperatively by a number of the women from Ingoma Nshya.

All of the above is affectionately recounted in Sweet Dreams, an uplifting documentary co-directed by Lisa and Rob Fruchtman. Kiki and her companions cut a sharp contrast to the bulk of their fellow countrymen peppering the desolate background, lost souls who seem broken in spirit between mourning murdered kin and facing bleak prospects for a better tomorrow.

A female empowerment flick featuring a blend of ice cream and drumming as a viable path to rehabilitation and reconciliation.   

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Unrated

In English and Kinyarwanda with subtitles

Running time: 84 minutes

Distributor: International Film Circuit / Liro Films

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