So I may have left HIV & AIDS Support House, but it never meant I am no longer affiliated with HASH. My heart shall forever be with HASH even if the time comes when they don’t want me around anymore. LOL. But seriously, I will miss the company of a few of the people I have worked with while I was an executive director for HASH. I will still do community-based HIV screening. I will, if invited, still conduct CBS training. I will, if requested, give inputs to consultations and discussions.
I am after all, will always be a community member first and foremost.
So why did I leave?
I have to spend time with the family business (where I am at this moment while writing this blog). My brother has been in seafoods trading for some time and I have long held back from joining and helping him out. We had dinner at my mom’s place last New Year’s day, and she was glad to know that I am joining my brother, of course, with the side comment that I have been spending too much time and energy for the community. (A comment I chose to ignore).
I may have left my post, but my loyalty remains with HASH. We have gone a long way in such short span of time and have invested so much heart and soul for the community. Politics have left us crippled time and time again and politics have also kept us going stronger.
Pride in HASH
I take great pride in knowing that I was and will always be a part of HASH, it may have not been an easy ride, but it was one rough road worth taking for the community. I have met great people having worked with HASH, and have seen the true colors of people around us.
My parting wish
I hope people will go back to the vision and mission of the organization. I think it’s BS to say that having treatment and care support as a vision/mission focus means that we should have been a support group instead (a comment I took offense of a few weeks ago). Support can be provided not just by being a support group but by programs and projects towards linking people to care.
I hope the legacy of community first remains in the hearts of the people in HASH. I believe in the importance of “Nothing about us without us”
I hope that treatment is not deemed as drugs and ARVs by definition, rather, as a means to prevent new infections, especially by the people in “power”.
I hope for more focus for the community, such that will learn and understand the key affected population members more in their issues and concerns with the different services being provided.
I still hope for many things. And I know that HASH, together with Network to Stop AIDS, and all the friends and colleagues in the advocacy, will one day come together for a stronger and a more unified programmatic fight against stigma and discrimination.
So…see you around people.
(uhm it’s lunch time, yes, I actually have a lunch break.)