A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda

Josh Ruxin. Little, Brown, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-23291-3
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 [they knew]," 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. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013
Release date: 11/05/2013
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Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-316-23289-0
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