When we interviewed Blue Marble Ice Cream founders Jennie and Alexis back in 2008, they said they were "in the middle of our first fundraising effort" for Blue Marble Dreams, the Brooklyn-based company's non-profit organization. That initial effort has since become a reality as the ice cream parlor Sweet Dreams ("Inzozi Nziza" in Kinyarwanda) will finally open next week in the Rwandan city of Butare. The country's first-ever ice cream parlor, Sweet Dreams is the "pilot initiative" of Blue Marble's exploration into "ice cream's potential to inspire joy and spur economic growth," according to the non-profit's website.
Sweet Dreams is not just about getting ice cream to that ridiculously warm country, though that's a noble cause in itself. Blue Marble Dreams, with the aid of Business Council for Peace (Bpeace), trained 17 Rwandan women in customer service, business management and personal finance. The women, who in many cases "have received very little formal education," will run the ice cream shop and retain the profits after the grand opening on June 5th, fulfilling one of the Jennie and Alexis' goals of providing "sustainable, gainful employment for local women."
The heartwarming doesn't stop there. With a nod to the locavore sensibility of the three organic, grass-fed ice cream shops Blue Marble runs in Brooklyn, all sugar, flavorings, and coffee will be locally sourced. Sweet Dreams will also, hopefully, be a start in invigorating the "local nascent dairy industry," where dairy cows are a part of common culture, "by deepening and diversifying the market for milk and milk-based products" in a country where ice cream is not yet part of the national culture. Who said you can't save the world with ice cream?