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)

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Pinjam RM10...

Less than 2 weeks ago Mrs. K called me up to inform me that she was running out of milk powder for her baby. Oh yes, another one… 6 of the ladies assigned to me have babies; 3 of them I visit on a regular basis to send groceries and other needs.

Usually it’s just Shah (Mrs. K’s eldest son) sending me SMS to inform me of whatever’s happening. This time Mrs. K called me from a public phone at her workplace. That probably meant they ran out of credit for their phone.

A few days after the call so happened to be a holiday for most, so off I went with a trainee volunteer to their home to send over the basic necessities. Trainee volunteer? Well yes, as I’ve mentioned before all volunteers will have to be under probation first to access their suitability for this kind of work. As I’ve been assigned as this trainee’s supervisor, I’d have to bring her along as often as possible when I visit my PLWHAs.

Remembering the last trip to their home when I saw the children sharing a cup of instant noodles, this time I made sure I dropped by a fast food outlet to buy something ready to eat for the children.

When we got there, Mr. K and all 4 children were around, but Mrs. K was at work. No holiday for her that day. As usual, I’d have a chat with the PLWHAs whenever I visit them so I know their latest update. I’d have to submit a contact report to my NGO. During the chat, Mr. K told me things were okay. Yes, he has health problems but that’s normal to him. The next day he’s supposed to go to the hospital for his routine blood tests.

It wasn’t long before his 5 year old daughter came whispering something to him. My guess? As usual, I just brought along some goodies with me, so she probably wanted to eat something and was asking her father’s permission. It’s the routine whenever I visit this family, so I always make sure I don’t stay long.

When I got up and the children came to salam with me, nobody said anything. But just as I got into my car, Shah came out saying there was a message for me from his mother. So I waited in the car. Then Shah went back into the house, and I heard them talking to each other, “Ayahlah cakap”… “Adiklah cakap”… “Alonglah cakap”… “Kakaklah cakap”… my guess was they had a favour to ask but were too embarrassed to say it. Finally after some pushing around, Shah came out. His face looking down, he said, “Makcik, ibu pesan mintak pinjam RM10 nak buat tambang ayah pergi hospital esok.”

Aduuuh… I suppose unless and until they settle the loan from the money lender who’s holding Mrs. K’s bank book and ATM card, even a trip to the hospital will become a big financial problem…

12 comments:

Mat Salo said...

Pi...this is what breaks my heart in this "land-of-plenty" - there's no excuse for society to ignore their plight... Most of us take life for granted. Pi, the NGO you're with.. who's yr main backer? Mind if I know the breakdown? Yes.. a trip to the hospital can indeed be a burden for the have-nots..

Pi Bani said...

Mat Salo
Our funds come from public donation... with a few "professional beggars" on board, we get a few rich individuals or organisations to donate every year. Of course not forgetting the not so rich individuals who donates on a "bila ada duit lebih" basis.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us how much does she owe the moneylender? Maybe we can help her to get out of this cycle.

Pi Bani said...

Anon,
So far she hasn't told me how much she owes the money-lender. To her I've been helping her too much already, including finding a donor to pay for their house rental when they were almost chased out of the house.

They are hoping to settle the loan once they can get Mr K's EPF withdrawal approved (for permanent disability). Their earlier application was rejected due to insufficient supporting documents. Am helping them to submit a new application.

I will still try to find out from her how much she actually borrowed, but can't promise she'd tell.

Raden Galoh said...

Pi...ada RobinHood ke along the way? Aiyahhh...so sadlah reading cases like this...

elviza said...

Dearest PI,

Do you have a specific funds for milk powder and baby needs for their young ones Pi?

Pi Bani said...

Robin Hood? You mean steal from the rich and give to the poor? Zaman sekarang ni kalau ada pun I think dah lama masuk jail dah. Kalau steal from the poor and give to the rich, now that's a different matter. So you please don't become Raden Hood, ok?

Elviza, the milk powder usually I "kidnap" the free samples clinics always get. My sister's clinic is one source. If there's not enough, I'd usually buy using the funds donated by my friends direct thru me. I have friends who want to donate but do not wish to go through the various agencies with all the red tapes and what nots, so they'd rather pass the money to me and let me buy whatever necessary and hand over to the families direct. But these are my friends who know me personally lah.

may said...

Hmmm....cannot always give from your own pocket. And they can't always expect you to hand over $$ to them. A real delemma.

Why is it always the lower incomes seems to be in the spotlight. I guess the rich are able to pay for the trips to the doctors and the medications. And not worry about their daily expenses.



There are some who belives that they brought HIV to themselves. But that is not true. Infidelity of partners/spouse inflicts HIV to their partners or newborn. This is very sad. These are the real victims. And condemnation from the society is not right.

More public awarenes is needed regarding HIV. But with our society where the mention of sex is taboo it is diffcult.

nyonyapenang said...

hope the EPF release the funds soon so the family can get the money lender off their backs.

Pi Bani said...

May, you're right... "to give or not to give" is always a dilemma. While I'd try my best to help them, I don't want them to be too dependent on outside help. But when you're stuck with a money-lender, it's tough!

Nyonya Penang, yes, let's hope EPF release their funds soon. Not only that, when they settle the loan, they'd better make sure they get Mrs K's bank book and ATM card back.

Ibu said...

To think how we all can easily waste RM10 into nothing, yet that same amount means so much more to someone else - heartbreaking.

Kak Pi, you may have shared this before with other readers, but may I know how can the public help contribute some fund?

Pi Bani said...

Ibu... my NGO's name and address is on my blog. Any contributions can be sent direct to my NGO address. For other kinds of arrangements, please contact me direct at pibani@yahoo.com