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In 2005 I returned to Papua New Guinea to cover the 30th anniversary of independence amid a breakdown in law and order, rampant corruption, an AIDS epidemic and an economy on the verge of collapse. One morning while travelling through the down-at-heel capital Port Moresby I saw this young boy amongst the Asaro mudmen tribe who had gathered to rehearse their contribution to the upcoming Independence Day celebrations. The child's gaze caught my eye as it radiates an innocence that seems to transcend the mayhem and violence of the society around him. It is as if the entire tribe emerged from the earth with their mud encrusted bodies and their biodegradable "arse grass" undies.