We can’t find O-bar. We were at the Home Depot vicinity early and we wanted to have dinner first. I was with @sutilako @glenfiddichxx @pozART23 . After dinner, we walked on to look for O-bar and we found it. Unfortunately, we wanted to have some coffee at Starbucks first before the O-bar event–and, Starbucks was nowhere in the compound. We found a sports and cafe bar and yes, I found coffee. Instant, but still coffee.
The Love Project guys arrived. Christina, Bhem. Miko and Alfred came after telling me earlier that they were too tired to attend the O-bar event after the International AIDS Candlelight event in Quezon City. The thing is, I wasn’t able to get the streptomycin I needed for a client. So yeah, they brought it over to me and, well, they stayed on for the event. @edbusim shortly joined us
The Pasig Treatment Hub team arrived. They were late and I was looking for the mobile van. There was none. We were shortly allowed to go into the back area where, in a 2×15 square feet (roughly) back area, we were made to set up 2 tables for blood extraction. Game plan for counseling? BE CREATIVE. There weren’t any small rooms, so yes, being “creative” would mean finding a space where the client and the counselor can talk. I was feeling the god of Humidity invading out small back area.
Show started inside. People started to come in. The Pasig guys went into the bar to distribute those condom cards–and offer testing. Ms. Elizabeth Oropeza appeared out of nowhere and peeked into the back area. She was pleasant. She was like,
“Is this where you will be doing your counseling?”
“I’m sure we can find ways to improve this (area’s) condition next time…”
“I haven’t seen anyone gotten tested…”
I told Mico to go and ask Ms. Oropeza to get tested and maybe, we can have some pics for promotion. Yes, Mico would be the best person to do this. NO ONE ELSE. And he did. Ms. Oropeza obliged, the group applauded and in less than 20 minutes, her results were out.
Ms. Oropeza went on stage to inform everyone about testing. She said she just her test and the audience clapped. I wondered why. Were they clapping because they were inspired to take the test, or were they clapping because, well, that was Ms. Oropeza on stage? Admittedly though, I had goosebumps when she was on stage telling people to get tested.
Counseling, testing and running
The next hours were a mix of counseling, testing and running around the area. It was a nice experience because every client as always, is a different story. Pre-test, blood extraction and Post-test counseling — the cycle went on. I was pleasantly surprised when Anton came over to the back area and helped us, all the time, I thought he was there to enjoy with some friends in the bar.
Chats. Laughter. Fun.
The back area, seemingly small, served as a witness to the rich exchange of stories among a small of group of advocates. People who were there without a single centavo in exchange for hours of service at a rather, humid back area, and still, they found ways to have fun at the back.
The goddess of “Haggardness” was catching up on me. I needed to rest. I needed to go home and rest. It wasn’t around 4AM when people decided to call it a day. Yeah, it was a long day.
I got home around 530AM. I was dead tired. I posted this on Facebook before I slept.
And so I slept.
With a sore body and an uplifted spirit.