Each day I would go back to my host Kiki's home and share with her my musings. Kiki, a poet, playwright, performer, and entrepreneur, would graciously be my sounding board as I tried to uncover how I fit into this beautifully laid out puzzle. From the moment I made the conscious decision to come to Rwanda, things had fallen into place and a yellow brick road paved itself before me. Making the best possible use of my time was weighing heavily. I shared with her my thoughts about people that have the freedom to dream, be it creative freedom, physical freedom, etc. I wondered aloud if the Rwandan/African public education systems or post-colonial cultures encouraged creative thinking, conceptual thinking, or imagination, knowing what her response would be. I wanted to wrap my head around the idea that perhaps African people, as she phrased it, ".. are engrained with the idea to erase and destroy," because they, largely, are never given the freedom to dream. These images are just of my surroundings, photo-sketch book entries.
As I listened to Kiki's response, her experience returning to Rwanda as a refugee in Congo, her time at the University, and her passion for the arts and the power of creative story-telling, the bigger picture began to reveal itself. She shared with me that she was trying to put together a nationally recognized group of Rwandan Professional Dreamers, and I knew I had found the story.
People that dare to dream of a better Africa; a more positive, peaceful, inspired Africa. Rwanda seemed to be the perfect nucleus for such co-conspirators, so I shifted my questions and conversations with people to that of dreams and positive change. Who were people that symbolized such things in Rwanda? In other parts of Africa? What were those people doing and why was it important to them? I had only begun to scratch the surface when my 10 days were up, but I'm compelled to continue, and returning in December to paint a larger portrait of these Rwandan Dreamers. These portraits below, I made of Kiki and her beautiful family; Moise, Aurore, and Kesha, as thanks for becoming such dear and inspiring, now life-long, friends. I am both deeply honored and ridiculously ecstatic to continue to work with her when I return in a few months- stay tuned!
Keywords: 2011, Africa, Blue Marble, Business, Butare, Dairy, Food and Related Products, Ice cream, Inzozi Nziza, O Magazine, Piper Watson, Rwanda, Soft serve, Sweet Dreams, photography
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