Veteran storyteller and actor Luisito “Kuya Bodjie” Pascua was introduced in the first part of this series. He reads and animates stories of people living with AIDS, simplifying the words and situations of the character affected by the virus, how loved ones deal with the situation and the lessons learned from the stories.
Storytellers made use of metaphors to describe the AIDS virus to the audience, similar to the computer virus and kids’ ordinary toys.
“In that way effective siya. Malaki ang maitutulong namin sa paglikha ng mga future adults na caring and whol will also be responsible for their own sexuality. Kaya sasabihin mo sa kanila kung saan nakukuha ang AIDS, epekto nito, etc.,” Pascua said.
“Tinuturuan mo na silang maging responsible, Bukod do’n hindi lang sila, pati na rin teacher at mga magulang na nakikinig,” he pointed out.
Pascua said the stories about people living with HIV/AIDS were presented in such a way that children can relate to the plight of the character in the story and the hope shown by the person to continue to fight for his or her life for the sake of a loved one.
Pascua who also had a short stint as lounge singer before he joined Batibot in 1984, noted an increasing number of enthusiasts who read stories to children in malls, bookstores and schools.
“Siguro nasasawa na rin ang mga tao sa TV, sa computers. Parang feeling ko bumabalik yung person-to-person contact through storyteller.
“Sa storytelling, ang daming uses niyan eh. Puwede mong patulugin ang bata, puwede mong i-assure ang bata kung may problema siya, puwede mo siyang i-entertain, gusto mo siyang turuang magbasa, and nothing beats the presence of the person to validate sa bata, na you, the child, matters,” he stressed.
Pascua has facilitated the training of 15 employees from Levi-Strauss on story-telling and teachers from Bohol.
“Marami-rami na rin kami (storytellers) na involve sa cause ng AIDS,” he mused.
Pascua said that various stakeholders in the country should exert extra effort to drum up information on HIV/AIDS.
“I think, HIV infection is getting high, lalo na sa ibang bansa, is because people are afraid to talk about sex. We are afraid to talk about sexuality out in the open. It (sex) is the most natural thing in the world. Kasi nga sa atin, sex is given with such malice. It’s really the inability of adults to discuss sexuality…minsan nagmamalinis tayo,” he said.
Local AIDS expert said that some children and even adults still believe that AIDS could be contracted through the exchange of saliva, mosquito bites, sitting on a toilet bowl previously used by an infected person, or going to school with someone.
Pascua said everybody should have a hand in educating each other about HIV/AIDS and that people living with HIV/AIDS should not be discriminated against, citing a number of Filipinos, who are already afflicted with incurable disease.
“May mga sufferers na dito sa bansa natin na kailangan ng suporta, pagkalinga, pang-unawa, sympathy bilang kapwa tao. May mga aral silang maituturo sa atin, hindi lang as individual, but as a society. Sa atin (fellow artist), biniyayaan tayo ng Diyos ng talent para makipag-communicate sa kapwa natin, pinaniniwalaan tayo.
Sana magkaroon tayo ng lakas ng loob na makibahagi kahit kapiraso lang ng ating talent, sa pagtugon, kung ano man ang hinihiling sa atin ng sitwasyong ito,” he urged.
“I think we all should be a part of any situation hindi lang sa AIDS, especially in educating people about reality, about the truth, about ourselves,” he added.
When asked which medium he prefers the most in conveying HIV/AIDS information (TV, stage, or storytelling), Pasuca, withou batting an eyelash declared: “Now that you asked me, masarap magkwento!” — MVTorrecampo