THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The problematic young woman - Part 2

After sending off Zana to a shelter home in KL, I thought I had her problem settled. Initially it looked that way. Zana would SMS me from time to time telling me of her latest developments. And what a shock I had one day when she told me that she went for scan and was informed that she was carrying twins! Whoa!! Earlier on I was worried about ONE additional life at stake if we didn’t take precautionary measures, now we’re talking about TWO!!

Things went quite well, until one day when Kak Hawa (the lady in charge at the home) got ill and was told by the doctors to take a break. She was overworked! Kak Hawa is the motherly figure at the home, and respected by everyone there.

It was during Kak Hawa’s absence that things began to go a bit haywire. The occupants at the home did not seem to get along well with Zana (or each other for that matter!). Zana had just delivered her twins (both boys) at that time. I got a call from someone at the home asking me to arrange to take Zana home after she and her babies get discharged from the hospital.

Oh dear!! It had to come at a time when I was busy with other PLWHAs in Ipoh. It was fasting month and I was arranging to get donations of raya goodies for the poor PLWHA families. There was no way I could go to KL at that time. And even if I could, where was I to send her? I spoke to Zana and she said her mother would only let her come back if she did not bring along the babies. Zana herself didn’t want to give her babies away. So how?

Again, I got desperate and sought the help of the same people from MAC. Zana and her babies were about to be discharged from the hospital and we had to find a place soon. So the people from MAC arranged to send her to another shelter home. Only this time, there were no other Malays/Muslims at that home and Zana would not have any fellow Muslims to celebrate Hari Raya with.

When Kak Hawa got back, she was furious to find out that Zana was sent to the other home. I told Kak Hawa that the best way to bring Zana back there was for Kak Hawa herself to speak to Zana as she was the only one Zana had any respect for. Eventually Zana herself wanted to move back as she felt rather lonely at the new home without any fellow Muslim/Malay to celebrate Hari Raya with.

Thank goodness, another problem settled. At least for the time being. I did visit Zana and the twins after Raya. They seemed to be coping well. Or so I thought.

After some time Kak Hawa called me up telling me that the other occupants at the home were beginning to complain about Zana again. She was too busy SMS-ing her boyfriends sometimes she’d just leave her babies crying for some time before attending to them. Oh, she loves her babies alright, it’s just that the motherly touch seemed to be lacking. Kak Hawa had to resort to confiscating her handphone.

This time Zana herself wanted to come back to Ipoh. Kak Hawa and I made arrangements for me to fetch Zana and send her back to her parent’s home. We were made to believe that the family was ready to accept her and her babies.

Apparently when Zana told her mother she wanted to come home, she didn’t tell the mother she would be bringing the twins as well. One day before I was supposed to fetch Zana, Kak Hawa called me up to say that Zana’s mother would only let Zana come back if she didn't bring along the babies. Apparently, Zana’s father never knew about Zana’s pregnancy and so, bringing the babies home would definitely create chaos at home. So, Kak Hawa and I thought that maybe I should just bring Zana home for a few days for her to see her family, especially her daughter whom she had not met for 8 months. Then Zana would have to go back to KL to the shelter home to be with her babies.

On the very day itself, after attending a meeting in KL, I went to the shelter home to fetch Zana. I met Kak Hawa first, then we both went to see Zana. She was attending to the twins with the help of another occupant of the home. Boy… the twins looked chubby and adorable!

We were told by both Zana and the other lady that Zana just got a call from her sister in Ipoh. The sister was passing a message from Zana’s mom to tell her NOT to come home because her father was really furious! Then Zana’s sister just switched off the phone without explaining why the father was furious. We just suspected that maybe Zana’s mother was trying to tell him about Zana and the babies. But we don’t know for sure.There may be other reasons.

So, no, I couldn’t bring Zana back to Ipoh. Not yet anyway. But despite Zana's attitude problems, we're not about to give up on her yet. It will be an uphill task especially when dealing with people's attitude (in this case Zana's and her family's), but we still got to try. Kak Hawa will still try to guide Zana while my next task is to talk to Zana’s family.

Yikes! This is the part I dread most…

16 comments:

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Pi,

kesian, kanak2 yang tak bersalah. sampai nenek dan datuk tak nak terima.

it takes all sorts to make this world.

I am not unfamiliar with sufferings of HIV victims but you writing it right from your heart through you experience has opened my eyes.... and my heart.

thank you, Pi.

Pi Bani said...

Yes, sad isn't it? Dah lah in the birth cert tak ada nama bapak, datuk nenek pulak tak nak terima. I strongly believe that it's not so much they don't want to accept the kids, it's more of rasa malu to their fellow kampung folks.

I hope to show the photos of the twins to the family... kotlah boleh bagi cair sikit their hearts.

Apandi said...

Yes, good move with the twin photos. But most likely they will hold their ground. I believe these are the types who would rather mati anak then mati adat or some crap. Its really sad if you look at it from another angle, malu kat orang kampung ? Tak malu kat tuhan ? I suppose, they will blame the girl 100% for this but did they ever question on why it is so ? Sapa yang didik si Zana tu sampai jadi macam tu ? I really get ticked off with people who keep looking for the blame in others yet refuse to look within themselves.Can't they just think about a solution instead of making matters worse ?

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Pi,

Sometimes I do pity us as a race. Why do I say that? Well it is deeply ingrained in us to be 'shame driven'. So I will not put the blame on her family entirely. That is how things are with us...until we change our mindset that is.

You embrace the aids patients with love and care, because you are educated and 'insaf'. Keep up the good 'heart'.

Kak Teh said...

Congratulations! Your have won a Thinking Blogger Award. Please collect your blog-sticker and list of rules at:kakteh.blogspot.com/2007/04/thinking-blogger-award.html

Pi Bani said...

Apandi, until I get the family's side of the story, I dare not judge them. As I mentioned in my post, there may be other reasons. I will probably come up with part 3 of Zana's story after I get some input from her family.

K.Ruby's right, we are a shame-driven race. It's the mindset that needs to be changed.

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

You are so full of compassion.

The kind of work you are doing is very draining emotionally and physically.

I appreciate you very, very much.

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

I also note your empathy for Zana despite her attitude problem.

There are many young girls who are prosmicious by an unconscious need for love. They are so easily exploited by unscrupulous men.

I know this from first hand witness.

Anonymous said...

Being away from M'sia for some time,UI thank you for bringing to light those things that are hidden from my eyes. You have such patience and love and may you be blessed for your tireless effort in helping these people.
(wonda)

Apandi said...

Yes you are definitely right about the judging part. Have to listen to their story too. Sighhhhh, this is why I shy away from making political comments. Sometimes I get too emotionally involved. Anyway, good luck with her and do tell. Its not just your work but your writing is a pleasure too.

Pi Bani said...

Hi&lo, wonda, apandi & all!

I just got an SMS this morning from Kak Hawa telling me that one of the twins died this morning. I just held the adorable twins in my arms last Saturday when I went to visit them. I still don't know all the details yet as I don't wish to disturb Kak Hawa today. When she SMSed me she was still at the hospital waiting for the post-mortem results. Will probably give readers the details together with part 3 of Zana's story. Ahh, the smiling faces of the twins are still playing in my mind.

Yes, this job can be depressing at times...

Queen Of The House said...

Pi Bani ... I am in awe of the work you are doing. I imagine it is not easy, especially handling the emotional part of it.

It's very sad that our society still does not have a place for HIV-infected people. It is sadder that the non-acceptance may sometimes lead them to irresponsible acts or desperate measures.

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

Your work can be very strenous.

Pls remember to take breaks and holidays to unwind yourself.

I wish you strength and fortitude in your work.

Thank you very much for being kind to the forgotten.

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

You held the twins in your arms. One of them dah meninggal. Their smiling faces still playing in your mind.

Sorry to hear that.

I was in palliative care before. Each time a patient died, I cried coz of the bond I had developed with each of them.

To compensate my grief, I took on the next patient immediately. I was so addicted to the work that I failed to take breaks.

NJ said...

Salam perkenalan Kak Pi Bani,

My first line here ma’am, although I have never missed visiting your page and read each & every heart rendering real stories you posted. I have a confession to make here ma’am, I too was you may call one of the SKEPTICAL one when it comes to HIV stories, you know what I mean… But, after reading your entries I realize that some of the unfortunate cases are really really unfortunates, they are good people they are just like any plain Jane walking down the street who sadly got entangled in adverse situations.

Your writing has really opened my eyes ma’am, and I pray to Allah to bless you with excellent health to carry out what you are supposed to handle. You make people think ma’am! You really deserve the Thinking Blogger Award from Kak Teh.

Please do carry on with your writing, and I shall continue to be one of your loyal and pretty-silent fans.

Pi Bani said...

QOTH,
It's not easy changing people's mindset. In Zana's case it's not just the HIV that's the problem... but a string of inter-related problems.

Hi&lo,
Yes, we volunteers do unwind ourselves through our fellowship activities - family day trips etc. We can be "gila-gila" at times during our gatherings (but not GILA, ok?). Thanks for your concern.

NJ,
I am happy to know that my writing has managed to open up some people's eyes, if not all. I had been contemplating for quite some time whether or not I should start this blog on HIV stories but now I am so glad I did. My little contribution in enlightening the public on the real stories behind the scenes of HIV infected people.