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  • This is a story of outsiders, but this is also a story of joy.

    In 2008 I travelled with a group to spend two weeks working at an orphanage in Uganda. Anywhere you encounter orphans, you are likely to hear stories of war, poverty, disease and hardship. The town of Lira in Northern Uganda is no different.

    For decades, the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army waged a brutal civil war involving rape, murder and forced child soldiers. As if that didn't lead to enough suffering, in the midst of the fighting, the African AIDs crisis swept through Uganda.

    With all this in mind, what I found when we arrived at Otino Waa Children's Village stunned me. Traumatized and forgotten, some having witnessed the death of their parents, these children had every right to be angry. Instead, we encountered joy. Pure, unadulterated love of life.

    These children who had suffered so much were some of the happiest and care free people I have ever met. Quick to smile, quick to laugh, and some of the best soccer players I've ever seen.

    To pretend for a moment these kids have an easy life or a bright and certain future is absurd. But in the middle of nowhere, in a former war zone, we did not find children who were dejected and hopeless.

    We found joy.
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