The Chinese New Year Festival on Feb. 27 was a whole new experience for me. My suburban head was turned by the intricate designs of San Francisco’s half crumbling buildings, and it was a great fun to look at all of the Chinese stores lining the jumpy streets. Early in the morning, I got out of the house and rushed to catch the Bart. When I got off the Bart station, the task of finding the ALC booth was breathing before me heavily. I took out my crumply directions and scanned the street signs for Pacific Avenue. I walked on and on, asking my friend to ask for directions in Cantonese, until I found the ALC booth at the top of the hill.
The road to the outreach event was quite memorable. However, The outreach itself was mind blowing. We got all set up and began to approach people with surveys. The ALC interns taught us a little technique: grab the attention of the children first, then have another volunteer approach the parents with the surveys. When we spotted children, we asked them if they wanted a tattoo (showing our own ninja tattoos) or a sticker (stuck all over our shirts). While one applied the tattoo, sometimes with great deliberation, another asked the parents to fill out the HBV questionaire or to come to the table.
Balloons were a great success as well. Everybody, including old (if I may say) ladies and gentlemen, wanted them. It felt like an amusement park, you know, with a Disney character or a clown busily handing out the balloons left and right.
Although some poeple turned away (in the typical style of a smile, a nod, and a glazed eye sliding away), many were very interested in learning more about Hepatitis B. They took the surveys, and were very surprised at the big number 1 in 10. A lot of people did not even know that vaccines for HBV were available, and that there was no cure. Suprisingly, not a lot of people thought that HBV was transmitted by sharing food.
All in all, it was a successful outreach event. Yay it didn’t rain!
After cleaning up, I walked to the Bart station (more exercise than ever!) and took a ride home… and fell asleep tired but contented… and slept again on Sunday… I think I’m okay now 🙂