Saturday 2nd April 2016 - As early as 6.20 am, I had already left home, heading to the town of Parit Buntar for this event. Buddies of Ipoh had been invited to set up an exhibition booth during the event, and I was personally invited to be one of the panelists for a forum held in conjunction with the event. Since the event was held in Parit Buntar, I had earlier decided to use the services of 2 of our northern volunteers to man (ermm... I mean woman) our booth, since I'd be busy with the forum. Besides, I felt it wasn't too practical to bring along volunteers from Ipoh with me for 2 reasons: (1) My car was loaded with the exhibition materials, and so only the front passenger seat was left available. (2) Having to make a move so early in the morning, I wasn't too confident the other volunteers in Ipoh would be as punctual as I want them to be.
While my GPS suggested that I used the Bandar Baru exit, I instead exited the Taiping Utara/Kamunting exit, to fetch a volunteer from Kamunting. She waited for me at the Taiping Utara toll area, and so I didn't even have to go out of my way to fetch her. From then on we used the old trunk road to head to Parit Buntar.
The day before, the moderator of the forum sent me a message to ask if I knew how to get to Dewan Kerian Permai, where the event was to be held. She offered to wait for me somewhere. I told her I'd just use my GPS to find my way, but I'd call her if the need arises.
Turned out we reached the place even before the moderator (who lives in Bagan Serai) and our other volunteer (who lives in Parit Buntar) did. It was only while we were setting up our booth did the Parit Buntar volunteer arrive.
The 2 volunteers at our booth.
Meanwhile, I joined the forum panelists. They had a doctor as the moderator, and they had doctors to talk about TB and diabetes. And suddenly there's this makcik without any medical background to talk about HIV/AIDS. It would have been different if the whole forum was about HIV/AIDS and they had different panelists to talk about different aspects of HIV/AIDS. This time however, I was there representing the topic of HIV/AIDS as a whole. Needless to say, I was quite nervous at first in case someone bombarded me with a clinical related question. Thank goodness even the medical questions were general stuff I was able to answer.
After the forum, the Pengarah Kesihatan Negeri, Dato' Dr Hjh Juita Ghazali officiated the event, before she went round the exhibition booths.
Introducing myself to Dato' Dr Juita. We had "met" on the Perak TKC Old Girls whatsapp group, but never met face to face, hence the introduction.
A photo at our booth with Dato' Dr Juita and Dr Puvanes.
The event ended at noon. Lunch of nasi ayam was provided by the organiser, all packed, and so after dismantling our exhibition materials, the 3 of us from Buddies had lunch at our booth, before loading all the materials into my car. We then went to a bicycle shop to buy a bicycle for a 10 year old girl (daughter of a client of mine who stays in the same district). I was unable to send the bicycle personally to the girl since there wasn't enough space in my car to load the bicycle, but the shopowner was kind enough to help deliver the bike to the girl.
After a short rest at the home of our Parit Buntar volunteer, it was time to head home. This time we decided to enter the expressway via Bandar Baru (which means we were actually in Kedah for a short while), exited Taiping Utara to drop off my Kamunting volunteer, and then made a u-turn to re-enter the expressway. All in all, I think the event was a success.