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GM Bicol's Proverbial Crown of Hope

By Ped Boral

January 21, 2022

I was crowned this year and this crown made my 2021 tremendously memorable for the simple reason that I have finally decided, though extremely apprehensive, to become active in Community Based Screening (CBS). I would describe this as, figuratively, dipping my hand into a mysterious body of water, only to realize its depth. My initial motivation was to comply with the training requirement of conducting CBS to 10 persons then, I went on and on and on and, in the long run, lost count of the CBS that I have conducted. Likewise, in the same year, I got to screen 13 PLHIVs in the course of my service to Gentlemen Bicol for SRHR. Quite a number for a CBS motivator who just recently re-trained and who just newly-ventured into this activity. Our President, Mr. Richard B. Hayag jokingly put it: “Nasa akin daw ngayon ang Korona”. It was not like the Ms. Universe Crown that signifies prestige but, a crown that entails a huge and burdensome responsibility placed on my head.

Conducting CBS, I would say, is the most consuming task, but, the most fulfilling that I have done this year. The CBS process would demand excellence in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains of learning. The CBS would demand accuracy and a wide body of knowledge about HIV/AIDS, imparted in a 30 to 40 minute-interaction with a client in an effort to equip key vulnerable populations with information that would protect them from harboring the disease and to address the stigma that affects PLHIVs. The CBS would necessitate emotional tools in an effort to instill hope to those who would need such. This part was anxiety-provoking for me because my inadequacy in this area would lead to devastating end-result. I hope that the client that comes in whole to the community center would still be whole after the CBS interaction. The psychomotor domain would involve the honing of a fine motor skill that would produce the least possible discomfort/pain to the client. That was and has always been my take on the CBS process.

The CBS process is and should be a two-way street. It was definitely designed to help the key vulnerable population, but, it would also require our genuine concern and active support to the people in the first-line of defense in the HIV/AIDS work- the CBS motivators. Good thing I have with me a pool of highly proficient people who would make things less difficult and less burdensome, people who would supplement personal weaknesses, and people who would replenish an adequate supply of hope for CBS motivators like myself.

Yes, it is hope- the ultimate expression of the success of our work in GM Bicol. Hope that produces optimism, kindness, creativity, harmony, concern, collaboration, participation, excellence, and boundless other possibilities. The invisible hopeful crown on my head is not forever mine to bear. My reign would end while the reign of the new bearer would begin. Perhaps, this challenge would be most apt: Do you have what it takes to wear the crown?

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