After last week’s exhibition booth in Chenderong, I was busy running around like a headless chicken (hmmm…headless chickens should be dead, shouldn’t they? How come they still run around?) doing…. errr…. hmmm…. doing what eh? Well, there were meetings to attend and there was another exhibition we had to prepare for, this time I was to give them a talk as well.
Anyway, a call came in from a youth club, asking me if they could borrow our exhibition materials and if one of us could help them out with an AIDS Awareness Programme on Saturday 23rd April 2011. This time I couldn’t help them. I needed my volunteers and materials for our own booth during the UniKL-RCMP Open Day on the very same day.
Since the exhibition was a whole day function, we got our volunteers to take turns. There were supposed to be 3 shifts… 9-12, 12-3 and 3-6. Since I needed to give a talk at 2 pm, I took the morning shift. So I loaded all the exhibition materials in my car by Friday.
I got to RCMP about 8.40 am, and with none of the other volunteers in sight, I had to actually unload the things alone. But thank goodness the staff from RCMP helped me out to unload the stuff before I drove out to park my car. I couldn’t park the car at their usual parking space as the space was used for the various booths.
Luckily one of our trainee volunteers works at RCMP and so she was around to help me set up the booth, together with our part-time staff who was actually there to man another booth. 2 other volunteers were supposed to be in the morning shift with me. One came at 9.20am, after all the posters etc had already been put up; while the other one, who didn’t turn up at all, called me at 1 pm, asking, “Exhibition tu hari ni ke esok?” Duh!
5 volunteers were supposed to be on the 2nd shift. 1 said he’d be late, and 2 just informed me last minute to say they couldn’t make it. Well, the one who said he’d be late got lost and never made it. As for the 3rd shift, only 1 turned up. Luckily one of the volunteers from the 2nd shift stayed on to the 3rd shift. But he’s a handicapped person, and so he couldn’t help to pack up and load the things into my car at the end of the day. So yeah, out of the total 11 volunteers who gave their names to help out at the booth, only 5 turned up. Sigh…
Anyway, the response from those who attended the Open Day, especially from the students, were quite good. Some came over to ask questions about what we do and about HIV/AIDS in general. There was however, one guy (a senior staff at the college I think) who was quite sceptical when he found out I didn’t have any medical background.
“You ni doctor ke?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Then I shouldn’t be talking to you, should I?”
As a matter of fact he didn’t believe me when I said ARV drugs are given out free for the first regime to all Malaysians.
“Mana boleh free. Kalau ibu mengandung ada HIV, then yes they are given free treatment. Yang lain if they’re not government servants, mana dapat free.”
I didn’t want to waste my time arguing with him, so, tak nak percaya sudah…
As for the talk in the afternoon, it was opened to the public, but not many attended. I think the time itself ie at 2 pm was not an ideal time for people to want to listen to talks and lectures. But the show had to go on, and those who did attend were those really interested to know more. I didn’t touch just on the basics of HIV/AIDS. To me what was important was to share the real happenings out there amongst the PLHIV and their families. The lady in charge later approached me indicating her interest to call us for another talk, this time with a specific target group, like the nursing students (I had earlier given examples how a few nurses did things they shouldn’t have done when dealing with PLHIV).
On the whole, I think the exhibition/talk was a success.
Tomorrow I will be going to Taiping Hospital for my clinic duty, on Wednesday clinic duty in Ipoh and then on Friday will be the PLHIV gathering…