"To be able to help out was very moving and I hope to do it again.”
As seen in the Gympie Times Friday the 14th of July 2017:
‘It’s everyone’s dream – to win an all-expenses paid holiday to anywhere in the world.
For a Gympie local, this dream came true but instead of relaxing on a beach or visiting a popular tourist attraction, Rick Bolsterli decided to spend two and half weeks volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya.
Rick, 58, who owns a carpet cleaning and pest control business, said there was never any doubt that he would use the $3500 prize money for the trip, given he had been wanting to volunteer for decades.
“I had always wanted to go to Kenya but it was too expensive for me to get there, so when I won the prize it was like a sign from heaven,” said Rick, who was presented the prize by well-known philanthropist and owner of James’ Home Services Mike Dowling.
“For two and half weeks I volunteered at Umoja – meaning ‘togetherness’ – Orphanage and attended its official opening, which locals and volunteers had been working towards for five years.
“We completed the final touches on the orphanage, which included painting, gardening and fixing anything that needed it. We did landscaping, electrical work and sorted through gear sent from Australia.
“In between all of this we played with the children – in particular a set of twins who had been neglected by their mother and had not been able to move in six months, leaving them with no body strength.
“We did exercises with them over the course of my visit and after only two weeks we could see a massive difference. This goes to show how important the time and help you offer to them really is – you are literally changing lives.
“We also took a trip out to visit another village where there were about 3,500 kids who had to walk 15 to 20 miles for food and helped there too.
“We did anything that was needed at the time – to be able to help out was very moving and I hope to do it again.”
Rick is looking forward to October when the manager of Umoja Orphanage will make a trip to Australia to conduct a fundraising tour with a number different rotary clubs.
“I first heard about the orphanage through my rotary club and now I will be able to share my experience with others when we all come together to raise awareness and donations in October,” he said.
“I hope to get Mike involved and continue to help provide in any way I can to this community.”
An estimated 1.6 million people volunteer overseas each year and Rick urged other Australians considering volunteering overseas to ‘just do it’.
“It’s a great experience and while going on holidays and lying on the beach doing tourist stuff is great, knowing you’re helping someone and making a real difference to their way of life is really nice,” said Rick.’
“I bought the Jame’s Home Service Franchise for Gympie and surrounds. I believe the James’ system is the best and it is providing me with the work-life balance I was looking for.”
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