Contributed by: Fantasy X, Dian Street
I will never forget the moment this girl asked me why am I volunteering for Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Incorporated (PAFPI). She assumed that I am not an HIV positive individual and that I am not an affected family member either. But when I told her that I am a client and that I was diagnosed last May 29, 2013 at Manila Social Hygiene Clinic, I saw how surprised she was.
After that conversation, we made it a point to share countless moments of laughter and endless jokes every time we cross our paths. I wonder if there’s a reason behind her smile. I suddenly had the urge to ask her about it. And here’s her story.
This is my first time to deliver a testimony about my HIV status in front of several unfamiliar faces since I was diagnosed. It feels like I am transported back to a time wherein I am lying on a bed and some of the patients near me were slowly dying. I’ll never forget how life consumed each and every soul beside me. I can hardly see the difference between what I went through on that situation and the feeling I have right now. The similarity is so uncanny that it gave me chills just thinking about it.
Contributed by: Joan delos Reyes Bassig
When you’re burnt out from work, what do you do? When you’ve come to realize that no matter how much you love what you do, working 12 hours a day will not bring you success the way you thought it would. What now?
I decided to volunteer. I had a good talk with a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen for a year. He’s been doing volunteer work at PAFPI and he showed me his plans to help PAFPI become a sustainable NGO. Growing up, my mom would encourage us to volunteer to various churches and school activities. So I thought, this should be pretty straightforward.
It was not; it was more like learning a new culture, with its own language and expressions. Every Friday at PAFPI takes me to the Land of Sailor-moon, costume play and the like. Sex is always the hottest topic, next to hot celebrities and beauty pageants, both local and international. Now and then someone would start to catwalk and everyone else would follow suit. Suddenly, a flash of nostalgia would creep up, of a life that was. I can feel their pain, it’s overwhelming. I am learning a lot from these people; life, love, acceptance, family, sacrifice, hope and so much more. I love every minute of it.
One of the most prominent ways in order for college professors to give their students a high grade is a research paper or a thesis containing a topic untouched by many. This is what transpired for the past few months of seeing students from different universities, come and go at the drop-in centers of Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI).