Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

How Love can Restore Hope

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Northern Uganda was plagued by civil war for over twenty-five years.

The effects on the land are gone. You can’t tell looking at buildings or roads or vegatation. But you can see it in the eyes, and if you look a little deeper, in the hearts of those who remain.

I don’t know how those who survive pick up the pieces and keep going. But they have no other choice. The only other option is giving up.

As I walked around the hot, dry campus I kept hearing the same story. “Where does your family live?” I would ask. “My parents died when I was four years old in the war,” came the reply. Over and over again.

Settled on the top of a small hill in the middle of nowhere stands a school that is trying to improve the lives of those who are left. Instead of being victims of their past, the school is trying to help them build their own futures.

I have wondered how you begin such a thing. How do you walk into Northern Uganda and try to spread love and hope?

On my recent trip, I learned what can happen when you show up. When you choose to start. When you choose to begin, even if you don’t know where to.

And now there is a collection of brownish red brick buildings with blue tin roofs spread across the landscape that was once characterized by terror and fear. Not even a storm announcing the end of the dry season could dampen the spirit of hope and love present in the hearts of everyone there.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the entire school. Some of the children were flying kites. When he had a chance to address all of the kids, he told them that they are like kites. That they can soar as high as they want. And that we are the string. Our goal is to let the string out as much as possible to help them soar.

Below are some of the pictures I took on my visit.

If you want to learn more about the school and how you can get involved, go to their website here.

Restore Leadership Academy: Love and Justice

Restore Leadership Academy: Love and Justice

Our welcome. Notice the kite. Bob would tell the students that they are like the kites. They can soar as high as they want.

Our welcome. Notice the kite. Bob would tell the students that they are like the kites. They can soar as high as they want.

The school is mainly a high school, but this year they added a primary school.

The school is mainly a high school, but this year they added a primary school.

We met with the entire school. During the meeting, founder Bob Goff decided to crowd surf. Nuts.

We met with the entire school. During the meeting, founder Bob Goff decided to crowd surf. Nuts.

We planted over 60 new trees all over the campus.

We planted over 60 new trees all over the campus.

We planted even when we didn't know what we were doing.

We planted even when we didn’t know what we were doing.

And of course, the trees needed water. I'm not sure which is more work, the planting or the watering.

And of course, the trees needed water. I’m not sure which is more work, the planting or the watering.

Two of my new friends.

Two of my new friends.

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Inside one of the classrooms.

These young men are the future of Uganda. Maybe one of them will be president some day.

These young men are the future of Uganda. Maybe one of them will be president some day.

This is the student our family sponsors. He is 17. Both of his parents are died in the war. It is an honor for us to be a part of his life.

This is the student our family sponsors. He is 17. Both of his parents are died in the war. It is an honor for us to be a part of his life.

I think he's ready.

I think he’s ready.

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And the rain came.

Bob celebrating with his youngest students. Have you ever seen so many balloons?

Bob celebrating with his youngest students. Have you ever seen so many balloons?

Do you imagine a future with love and justice?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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12 Replies

  1. Wow, what a beautiful journey, Jeremy. And your pictures are stunning. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. I love it, Jeremy. Thank you for going, thank you for doing, thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ.

    1. I didn’t do much, but even the little bit matters, doesn’t it?

    1. It was. I don’t know how to fully describe it in words. I met a friend of yours there. Justin Zorida.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, the pictures are fantastic!

    1. My pleasure. Being there was even better.

  4. What an awesome experience – thanks for sharing!

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