Copies of 'Running the Rift' were distributed at an event Monday evening

by: VERN UYETAKE - Jessica Lee, a student at Lake Oswego High School, helps distribute copies of 'Running the Rift' at the Lake Oswego Reads kickoff event Monday.The Lake Oswego Reads 2013 program got off to a tremendous start Monday with the distribution of free copies of “Running the Rift.”

Attendees sampled mondazi, (traditional East African donuts), chapatti (flatbread) and sambosa (pastry filled with spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, ground lamb or chicken) prepared by members of the Pacific Northwest Rwandan Association and drank Rwandan tea prepared by Lake Oswego teamaker Steven Smith. Smith led a discussion on Rwandan tea and people had an opportunity to view Rwandan baskets and jewelry, courtesy of the Itafari Foundation, founded by Lake Oswego resident Victoria Trabosh. More than 600 people attended the event.

“People in our community love to read,” said Lake Oswego Reads coordinator Cyndie Glazer. “And they really want to learn about Rwanda ... and it was fun to see the people who have taken part in LO Reads every year reunite. This has become a nice tradition for Lake Oswego.”

“Running the Rift” tells the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a boy with Olympic dreams in the 800 meter race, and his family as they struggle to survive the Hutu-Tutsi conflict in Rwanda. Despite the troubles the characters experience, the novel celebrates love and unity as powerful forces of hope.

During February, the library, local schools, businesses and organizations will offer special programs and festivities connected with “Running the Rift.” The food, music and history of Rwanda will be celebrated and explored. Most events are free. For a complete list of events, visit The book is available at the Lake Oswego Public Library and for purchase at Graham’s Book and VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego teamaker Steven Smith pours Rwandan tea he brewed as a special treat for those in attendance at the Lake Oswego Reads kickoff event Monday.

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