When I took Shila along with me to visit Anita at the shelter home last Sunday, the drive from her place to our destination took about 1 hour. So we had ample time to chat during the drive.
Remember I mentioned about the Orang Asli lady staying in an ulu kampong who has yet to contact me? I couldn't contact her as she doesn't have a phone. To go to her place, I wasn't too sure how to get there. When I asked Rosnah earlier, she told me we'd need a 4 wheel drive to get to the place. That stopped me from trying to look for the place on my own.
Well, Shila also stays in the same town, so I decided to ask her as well about this OA kampong. Guess what? Shila stays even nearer to the place! As a matter of fact, to get to the kampong, we just need to go further in using the same road leading to Shila's kampong! Shila herself had been to the kampong twice for a picnic with her family. The place it seems is quite popular for the locals there to mandi sungai. And according to Shila, although the road may be rather narrow, it is still accessible by car.
Great, I thought... maybe one fine day, I will get Shila and maybe one or two other PLHIVs to join me, and we'd try to visit this OA lady. If we can't find her house, we'd just go to mandi sungai!! Hehehe...
Anyway, we had a board meeting last night and I suggested to the board that we should try to arrange for HIV/AIDS awareness programmes at OA settlements. The Board agreed that we try to target this for our World AIDS Day programme this year. For that, we'd want to liaise with the state JHEOA people.
Other than just giving talks, maybe we can also arrange for rapid testing. There does seem to be more and more OA cases referred to the Ipoh HIV clinic of late. There may be more OAs infected without them knowing. The OA lady I'm trying to contact for example, not only had her husband died of HIV related illness, her 12 year old daughter too died of the same. Now she still has a 10 year old son (not infected), but her own CD4 is so low, and without assistance, chances are she herself may skip her own hospital appointments (she's not working) and as such, I'm not too sure how long she'd be able to last. What will happen to her son then?
I believe there are others in her kampong who may have also been infected, with or without them knowing. Their lack of knowledge on HIV may contribute to even more infection amongst the OAs. This is certainly an area to penetrate.
So yes, that is our next target - creating awareness amongst Orang Asli communities.
I do hope this will not end up as a NATO project. (No Action Talk Only lah...)