Be the Cause

frustrations are all relative

Today I went to Robben Island. A tour was given to us by an actual ex-prisoner. Most of the people in South Africa have forgiven what has happened with them and their country. At first I thought this man, our tour guide, had not forgiven yet. But as we huddled up in the registrations area for prisoners, he said ” why all the long faces? how come people don’t smile” Before he could think, Sonali hands him a smile card. He is so touched. He cannot speak. He cannot believe that such a thing exists. So we follow our tour guide as he leads us holding the smile card up in the air. The enitre tour he holds the smile, actually he wears it on his shirt. He tells us about the tourture he went through, the conditions. He now has degrees in education and pursues another. But because he cannot pay for it, he works one year and goes to school the next. He is a brillant man, one with a very big heart. The most touching moment… when he speaks of forgiveness.. why should one forgive these “white” people? he goes on saying how forgiveness is important to heal,, and how one cannot hold on to bitterness and anger. And i realize.. this man who has gone through so much can say this… and here i am.. frustrated at little things in life…… what am i thinking?

I have learned alot from this “tour” and will remember this moment for the rest of my life, especially when i am bitter and angry.

lots of love,


  • Smeeta

    Hey Karuna, hope you are well. You seem to be meeting wonderful people that have opened their hearts so you can take a small, but extraordinary, glimpse at their lives . Its funny how that man could forgive so easy to the hardships we could never imagine, yet we hold onto irrelevent arguments for so long. I hope we all can be as retrospective as the man you talked about…. because forgiving is hard to do. Anyway take care and we miss you cant wait to see you in 2 weeks!


  • Stacey

    Hi Karuna and All,

    Karuna I sent your blog entry onto Neerav so he could post it on the site. It just so happened that Charity Focus was having a Smile Day event this last Saturday. The group read your blog entry as the kickoff for the event. So from South Africa to San Francisco, in many circumstances, smiles abound!

    Lots of love,

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