Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rising From Ashes

Rising From Ashes is an amazing full length documentary about the first Rwandan National Cycling Team. This is about the journey of a country trying to rise from the depths of horror of the 1994 genocide and its need for heroes to believe in once again. This group of cyclists go through a six-year journey of training by the first American to ever race the Tour de France, Johnathan Boyer. As the cyclists struggle with their own pain--mental, emotional and physical--Johnathan goes through his own journey of finding redemption, hope and new life in giving himself to the Rwandan people. T.C. Johnstone, the director, producer and editor of this emotionally charged documentary, says that, "This is a film about transformation. For Jock (Johnathan) it was a transformation in humility." For the Rwandan cyclists, it was a transformation out of a nightmare constantly relived in their minds to an opportunity to overcome their past and to be recognized as united Rwandans.

The bicycle is a powerful tool. As T.C. Johnstone says, "Everyone has one. And no one gets on a bike and doesn't smile." It is therapeutic. It gives the rider a chance to process the suffering of the mind and soul and connecting them to a sense of redemption.

Adrien Niyonshuti, one of the cyclists, made the qualifying round for the London Olympic Games 2012. Look for him on the last day of the Olympics on August 12th during the mountain bike event. His story of loss and perseverance, struggle and redemption is so compelling and profound. He will represent his country at the opening ceremonies. No one can know what that means to this young man representing Rwanda.

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