Regan Matovu, 11 years old and Kevin Katongole, 9 years old.  
Our local team of 5 arrived at our rural farm base on a Thursday to meet with Ajiija village leaders for guidance on selecting backpack recipients for Sunday.  Regan and Kevin were hanging around with us under a tree, where we were roasting chicken for supper. The boys were constantly and unhappily looking down while mumbling something to a respectable looking leader working with us.

We decided to get to know the boys better by engaging them in a conversation. Like other children in Uganda, Regan and Kevin are not used to having conversations with adults. They spoke very softly, and constantly looked down or away from us.
Since Regan never seemed to warm up to our dialogue, we eventually, asked why. We learned that Regan and Kevin did some work but they were not paid the 1,000/= ( 29 US cents) and 2000/= ( 57 US cents) they were promised. The boys had come daily to ask for their money, but to no avail.

Michael reached in his pocket and gave each of them 1000/= more than they were owed. The change in demeanor and the smile on their faces were priceless! They knelt to thank Michael again and again, grinning with delight.  Michael used this opportunity to speculate that each of them could use a backpack and school supplies and asked them to return on Sunday.  They were extremely delighted and ran away giggling and very happy.

The backpacks launch was a success. However, we realized that Kevin and Regan were did not participate and yet we saw them at the beginning. We thought that perhaps they felt out of place and left.

We now think Regan and Kevin misunderstood what we invited them back for. They probably thought it was to do more work at the farm, and this time be paid promptly; yet what Michael had in mind was for them to participate in the backpacks project.

Even though there are many smiles of appreciation imprinted in our minds, we cannot get the faces of Regan and Kevin off our minds.  We wonder what jobs are they doing now for extra cash….. are they in school…. the questions are endless.

Everytime, we go to Uganda, we will always seek out Regan and Kevin to know what they are up to.  We want to help them, and other children like them, to stay in school or, at least learn an employable skill.

Kevin and Regan portray a cross-section of a typical rural Ugandan kid, with all the trials and tribulations of being poor. This could include but is not limited to starting school late due to lack of funds, not having the back-to-school material requested, going hungry, doing odd jobs to supplement the family income, and not being paid on time, among many others.  Adults similarly experience late payments for work or no payment at all.

We collaborate with recipients and provide technical assistance to help them attain self-sufficiency.