Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Smile and an Ice Cream

Less than a month after I started blogging, I wrote about Blue Marble Ice Cream. I loved what they were doing, and I hoped that, as they grew, they wouldn't stop thinking big.

I hadn't heard from them in a while, but, day before yesterday, I got an email, and something's stirring. Something unexpected. Something strange. But something that's certainly big.

Blue Marble Ice Cream wants to bring frozen dessert to Rwanda.

The idea seemed a little ridiculous at first glance. Ice cream? Aren't there more pressing matters? Water? Soil? Education? Healthcare? But, as I read deeper into the email, I came to this, an explanation from Gakire Katese Odile, one of Blue Marble's Rwandan friends:

Because we struggle most of the time, we also find ourselves aggressive against happiness, love, joy, life. When we have children, we too 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... The Rwandan women who are part of this group 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. And for the 15th commemoration of the genocide in 2009, what better way for Rwandans to enjoy life than by traveling all over the country through the thousand hills to offer life when there was death, to offer a smile and an ice cream? Nice dream!

I like it. And it's not ridiculous. It's certainly not a traditional approach, not an idea I can imagine many people having. But it's an idea born of love and generosity; it's an ice cream idea backed by ice cream genius; and it's big. You never know. Stranger things have succeeded.

If you want to learn more about the project, click here to have a look at excerpts from Blue Marble's application for a grant from American Express, or let me know by comment or email (moreperfectmarket at gmail dot com), and I'll put you in touch with Jennie and Alexis.