On the eve of my first trip to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women … I’m thrilled to share this interview I had yesterday with Mina de Caro.

I love it when an interviewer asks the tough questions! From her position as a strong advocate for the dignity and rights of women and children, Mina mined the field of my life and the realities of life with the rural Zulu of South Africa.

I hope you enjoy our conversation …

M:  As a guest in the South African village, you committed to being an observer, not a critic of their culture and traditions. How difficult was it to remain silent in front of abominable social practices: infant scarification, use of black magic to cure serious illnesses, gender discrimination, just to mention a few?

K:  Holding my tongue was a huge challenge. There were times I wanted to rally the women into a “Norma Rae” revolt. But I did a pretty good job of maintaining observer status … until Ruby and the school principal began starving the children. It broke my heart and my self-control crumbled. I couldn’t just stand b and watch. It was the only time I intentionally interfered in their culture, and I’m pretty sure giving the apple to the little girl contributed to Ruby turning on me.

M:  What started as a humanitarian dream ended up in a nightmare, abruptly and at the hands of the very people who warmly welcome you and hosted you. Was Ruby’s betrayal the most heart-wrenching aspect of your ordeal? Or leaving behind that unforgettable group of kids without having the chance to explain the reason for your sudden departure?

K:  Without a doubt, Ruby’s betrayal stung – I didn’t see it coming. But through the process of being on tour with Ruby’s World, I’ve spoken with many South Africans and have a better understanding now of Ruby’s behavior. It was awful in the moment, but it doesn’t haunt me anymore.

Leaving the kids without saying good-bye was by far the most painful aspect of being run out. It still hurts. I hate that they might think I abandoned them. Even worse, I suspect that Ruby and the principal may have told the kids … (you can read the entire interview HERE.)