Whatever's Good For Your Soul... Do That!
This Saturday Ayke and I went to ikVRIJWILLIG, a volunteering event at Kinepolis in Antwerp, the second largest cinema complex in terms of capacity seating in the world by the way.
We got our brochures, laptops and amazing poster of Dita Von Teese ready and, feeling sorry for ourselves for partying too much the day before, made our way to the conference area of the cinema.
There were about eighty little stands there and by the time we arrived everyone was in a rush to make theirs the most attractive of the place: there were mountains of sweets and piles of butter cookies everywhere; little flags, balloons, professional advertising signs, toys, leaflets of all shapes and colours and just anything from little beautiful tea pots from the ‘Tea Art and Asian Culture’ stand to the piece of ground soil that our neighbour stand brought. I’m still unsure of the purpose of it being there and I liked it more when I first thought it was a cake I must say.
So we prepared our stand, hung Dita behind us as our flag, opened the DAA book on the Tokio Hotel picture (clever us) and played our videos and slideshows.
I went for a wander around to see what other volunteering jobs were on offer and was happy to see there were protection of animals clubs as well as charities for taking care of children and elderly, apart from volunteering abroad and social work.
It was a surprise, however, that I didn’t see any other HIV/AIDS awareness stands apart from our own!
There are around 16,000 to 26,000 people living with HIV in Belgium, according to UNAIDS and as per usual, the gap between the numbers is so large because people don’t know they have been infected and keep spreading the virus.
Few of the people we spoke with that day told us that they’ve heard about HIV at school but the speech was boring, it was hard to follow up and they were still confused about how it worked.
So it was good to know that our visitors found our stand quite entertaining and relaxed – where there were pictures of designers work in the name of prevention, rather than boring plain leaflets with basic information on HIV.
It was a lot easier to approach people in a fun and easy going atmosphere and talk about taboo topics in a way that they stopped being taboo and became just a casual conversation with friends.
So guys, if any of you are looking to do some volunteering work for a good cause, while doing some research, creative writing and having fun and making friends along the way, do give us a shout as we’d love to hear from you!