One couple's inspiring memoir of healing a Rwandan village, raising a family near the old killing fields, and building a restaurant named Heaven.
Newlyweds Josh and Alissa were at a party and received a challenge that shook them to the core: do you think you can really make a difference? Especially in a place like Rwanda, where the scars of genocide linger and poverty is rampant?
While Josh worked hard bringing food and health care to the country's rural villages, Alissa was determined to put their foodie expertise to work. The couple opened Heaven, a gourmet restaurant overlooking Kigali, which became an instant success. Remarkably, they found that between helping youth marry their own local ingredients with gourmet recipes (and mix up "the best guacamole in Africa") and teaching them how to help themselves, they created much-needed jobs while showing that genocide's survivors really could work together.
While first a memoir of love, adventure, and family, A THOUSAND HILLS TO HEAVEN also provides a remarkable view of how, through health, jobs, and economic growth, our foreign aid programs can be quickly remodeled and work to end poverty worldwide.
Part memoir, part history lesson, part discourse on how to make a public health project work using business standards, the story of Ruxin's life in Rwanda is riveting and inspirational. Although the author denies that the book is "about genocide," it is indeed imbued with the stories of the "the unspeakably dark times" in this African country's history. When Ruxin, a Fulbright scholar and public health activist, and his wife arrived in Rwanda in 2005, his mission was to create health facilities that worked, addressing the problems of AIDS, malaria, TB, and widespread malnourishment. The newlywed Manhattan couple said "a huge good-bye to everything ," procuring one-way airfare and a home directly across from the infamous Hotel Rwanda. In time, Ruxin (now on the faculty at Columbia University) received approval from the Rwandan government to pursue his Millennium Village Project. The bad news was that the area they ended up in was Mayange, a five-village cluster of dust and despair, lacking in any sense of community. The couple soon opened a restaurant called Heaven. Ruxin recounts how he and a top-notch team of health experts, organizers, agronomists, and others turned Mayange into a productive model that was eventually replicated in other locations. He also details the parallel development of a restaurant called Heaven, which was the brainchild of his wife, Alissa, who is also trained in public health. From the depths of destruction to "Heaven," Ruxin chronicles the regeneration of this remarkable country, ultimately revealing the healing power of forgiveness and hope.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A mind blowing book
An awe inspiring book. Very well written and thought provoking. I will find a way to help those in Rwanda because of this read.