Saturday, 16th October 2010 – As early as 6.30 am, I was already out of my house. I had earlier told 3 other volunteers who was supposed to come along, that we’d be making a move from the center by 6.45 am and I also reminded them to be punctual. By the time I got to the center (which is just about 5 minutes drive from my house), 2 of them were already there. We only had to wait for one more, and she too arrived on time.
We made it to TLDM at 8.15 am and managed to set up our booth before 8.30am when the exhibition was supposed to officially start. Since the event was co-organised by TLDM, JAKIM and Malaysian Aids Council (MAC), and MAC themselves set up their own booth, I didn’t bother to bring along any posters related to basic info on HIV/AIDS . Besides, many of the posters we have, we got from MAC. So why display the same thing, huh?
I decided to just display our buntings, brochures, bookmarks and 2 posters which I got done just this week… one on what may go through the minds of HIV+ people… “From negative to positive – Breaking down barriers in the mind”; and the other poster describes the kind of activities/services that we do.
There were quite a number of exhibitors – other than Buddies and MAC, there were booths representing Jabatan Kesihatan, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat, Majlis Agama Islam, Pertubuhan Komuniti Intan (PKI), PDRM and of course, the navy themselves.
And oh, not forgetting, Agensi Anti Dadah Kebangsaan (AADK) who came in their bus…
The exhibitors were also offered for a tour of one of their surveillance vessels, the KD Perantau. They organised 2 trips, so the exhibitors could take turns to man the booths.
Anyway, usually during exhibitions, we would have extra brochures to bring back. This time we finished ours before the exhibition ended at 4 pm! And the navy personnel who came to visit did seem a lot more interested in what we do.
I also found it very heartening that 2 JAKIM ladies showed interest in what we do. They have it seems, visited PLHIVs at shelter homes, and they found it interesting that we Buddies visit the families at the PLHIV’s own homes.
Unlike the usual exhibitions where we’d get the volunteers to work in shifts to man the exhibition booths, it wasn’t an option for this exhibition as it took almost 1 1/2 hours to get from Ipoh to TLDM. We came in just one car… just the 4 of us, so the same 4 had to be on duty the whole day.
It was rather tiring, but based on the responses we got, it was worth the trip. By 4 pm sharp, we packed up and made a move. For the next 1 1/2 hours, the 3 volunteers could just sit back and relax (and sleep in the car)… while I… still had to concentrate on the road!! Sigh.. the “perks” of being the chairperson…