Kingaroy tradie’s life-changing African journey
KINGAROY businessman Mick Astill travelled halfway around the world recently to help out a little boy.
But little did he know, his charitable journey would change the life of this South Burnett tradesman.
Astill's Electrical business owner Mick Astill travelled to Uganda last month after a chance encounter his business coach had with an African man and a child at the Sydney Airport.
"He told him (the business coach) that the young boy next to him had been abducted and mutilated by witch doctors," he said.
The African man was a preacher and he had started an organisation in Uganda to help the hundreds of children who needed care.
"He was taking the young boy to Brisbane for genital reconstruction surgery," Mr Astill said.
Mr Astill did not need long to think about being involved in such a worthy cause.
"We've got young kids so it really touched me," he said.
"I wanted to do something to help."
The organisation, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), has schools to educate over 600 students, and a medical clinic that provides full time care to over 40 children who have been abused.
Mr Astill travelled to the African complex with a number of other Australian business owners including fellow South Burnett resident, Josh Mangan, from Nanango.
"While we were there we opened a small medical centre for students to get treatment," Mr Astill said.
The big-hearted Australian business group spent nine days in the humble Ugandan village.
During that time, the South Burnett electrician witnessed first-hand just how much tireless work goes into the charitable organisation.
"There were six doctors, two optometrists and two dentists. They were seeing 800 patients a day," Mr Astill said.
During his stay, the Kingaroy tradie took up an invitation to go to an African church.
"It's not like church in Australia," Mr Astill said.
"They were singing and dancing, it was three hours of watching happy people.
Mr Astill said it may have only been a short trip, but his nine days in Africa have changed his life.
"It was a defining thing for me," he said.
"People over there have so little, yet they are so happy.
"We have so much in Australia but we are so unhappy and we get bogged down in making money and having things."