Today marked the opening of the Ashland Independent Film Fest. I love independent films because they draw me deep into my psyche, pulling up a myriad of emotions often tearing me apart at the seams and other times lifting my heart in joyful celebration of the human spirit. The film I watched tonight was one of those that both tore at the fabric of human indignity with the genocide in Rwanda while also demonstrating the resiliency of the human spirit.

Sweet Dreams is a wonderful documentary about Rwanda’s first women’s drumming troupes, which is comprised of both Tutsis and Hutus. “For these women—orphans, widows, wives and children of perpetrators—this group represented a place to begin to live again, to build new relationships based in trust and forgiveness and to heal the wounds of the past. Yet all were faced on a daily basis with the struggle to survive and provide for their families as well.” * With the help of 2 women who own Blue marble ice-cream in Brooklyn, New York, the drummers decide to open an ice-cream shop (even though they’ve never seen or eaten ice-cream!). The movie is infused with the tales of individual women, the horrors they endured through genocide, the poverty and loss of soul and their unshakable strength and hope. When these young women get together to drum and dance there’s a spirit that is so strong and joyful it breaks open your heart.


As I watched the movie, I was moved by the resilience and strength of the feminine spirit. I really feel this tenacity, compassion and resourcefulness along with the powerful and forgiving souls of women are the qualities needed to heal our fragmented world. These women went against tradition–there had never been a women’s drum group and in the past, women were forbidden to even touch the drums. They emerged from the horrors of genocide to envision and create a new future for themselves, their families and the community they were creating. They are rewriting the script of their lives and generations to come. Women around the world are planting the seeds of change and humanity back into the world! This film illuminates what fruit can grow from such spirit.
It reminds me of this saying, (which I don’t know the source):

“ If you educate a boy, you educate an individual; but if you teach a girl, you educate a whole community.”

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