I was at my NGO center as usual on Thursday afternoon last week, having a final browse at the reports for the coming AGM, when suddenly I heard a knock on our front door. We don't have any doorbells, so visitors will either have to knock or call out for us. I got up, opened the door, and saw a lady and a TS. For the uninitiated, TS means transsexual.
"Ni Buddies kan?" the TS asked.
"Ya, cari siapa?" I responded.
"Saja nak jumpa Buddies lah. I pernah datang sini dulu."
Then I remembered a few years ago when I was still a newbie in Buddies, a 2-day workshop was held at our center whereby Persatuan Wanita dan Kesihatan, KL (WAKE) sent a team to guide us in carrying out outreach work. A group of TS came over, and Geena was one of them.
While visiting Ipoh last week, Geena decided to drop by our center with a lady friend. The lady friend owns a salon and knows many of the TSes who frequent her salon. In fact, Geena became one of her best friends.
Anyway, they came just to have a chat and to find out more about Buddies. They thought our center was some sort of walk-in or drop-in center where they could come in anytime. I explained to them that we don't have any full time or part time staff manning the center and that one or two of us would come in once a week to check on admin matters. Geena and her lady friend were just lucky that they came when there was somebody around.
Geena: "Kira gaji ikut hari lah?"
Me: "Tak... takde gaji."
Geena: "Oh, dapat elaun ajelah?"
Me: "Tak... elaun pun takde. Ni semata-mata volunteer. Cuma kalau kena travel luar Ipoh, bolehlah claim mileage."
Both Geena and her friend were rather amused that we're not paid anything. I guess to them it's always "ada kerja ada gaji".
Geena was more interested to find out the things that we do... whether we do rapid testing and the likes.
They didn't stay long though. It was just a "saja-saja singgah" visit, so after a short chat and exchanging phone numbers, they left.
Coincidentally today I received a call on our hotline number (since we don't have anybody full time at the center to answer calls, we got ourselves a mobile number whereby the Board members will take turns to keep the phone - and it's now my turn until the next Board meeting). The call was from a university student who got our hotline number from our site. She and her friends are doing a research on HIV/AIDS and transsexuals, and so they wanted to interview Buddies to get some info. I told her I'd call her back once I can arrange for the right time and the right people. I don't mind meeting her myself, but given the topic, I feel it would be best if one of the volunteers from our outreach team attends to this...