A Story of Suffering

Last week I spent five days in rural Eastern Cape, near the border of Lesotho, conducting research in the villages in the area. I had the privilege of holding focus group discussions in people’s homes, and hearing about their lives and their struggles. I came across a story that really moved me. It goes something like this.

A woman was devastated when her child died, and went to the healer in her village, begging him to bring the baby back to life. The healer said he would bring the child back to life. He gave the woman a cup, and said “Fetch me a cup full of sugar from any house in the village. But make sure the sugar comes from a home that has never experienced suffering.” Delighted, the woman set off to fill the cup of sugar. At the end of two days, the woman came back to the healer with an empty cup, and asked him to give her back her child’s body so that she could bury it.

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