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, 27 June 2007

Things that upset, things that excite...

When SN called me last week asking me to help look into the case of a jobless PLWHA who has to look after 2 kids, I thought I heard SN mention that this PLWHA “kena tinggal dek laki” (left by the husband). Well, either I wrongly heard what SN told me, or SN wrongly mentioned it to me. Apparently this PLWHA “kena tinggal dek bini” (left by the wife). I guess I must have assumed that the kids were left behind with their mother.

On Monday, when I told SN I’d be coming to meet this PLWHA on Tuesday, then only SN gave me the name and then I realized that this was a man. His wife left him with the kids! My first thoughts were what kind of a mother is this?! I understand if she left because she thought this guy was a good-for-nothing kind of guy, with his drug addiction and all… BUT if she was responsible enough, she wouldn’t have left the kids with an irresponsible guy, would she?

No, I shouldn’t come to my own conclusions. I need to meet and talk to them first. Without knowing heads or tails it is not fair for me to make assumptions. There may be a thousand and one reasons for whatever had happened.

So yesterday morning I went to the HIV clinic. Upon seeing me, SN immediately called the methadone clinic telling the staff there to send Zali to the HIV clinic before giving him his methadone treatment for the day. We needed to twist his arm a bit, otherwise he wouldn’t come. He wouldn’t even set his foot at the hospital if not for the methadone treatment. And if SN didn’t use the “arm-twisting” method, he would have defaulted his HIV clinic appointments as well.

Zali knew about his HIV since 15 years ago even before he got married, and according to him, his wife knew about this but still married him anyway. I’m not sure how true this is (about the wife knowing his HIV status before marriage). They were blessed with 2 daughters – a 5 year old who is in kindergarten this year and the other is about 1 ½ years old. I asked if his wife and kids had gone for HIV tests. According to him, his wife refused to go for tests (based on the story I heard from SN, I think the wife feels ashamed to set her foot at the HIV clinic for fear people who know her may see her there) and Zali had not brought his 2 daughters for tests either. Zali said his children looked fine and therefore he didn’t see the need to bring them for tests.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear… he was waiting for them to look sickly before he brings them for tests?!! He had known of his HIV for 15 years and he was waiting for the kids to fall sick before he brings them for tests?!! Argh!! Now I understand why SN was so mad with him! I begged him to bring his daughters for tests. I told him if he didn’t cooperate it will be very difficult for me to help get the much needed financial aid for his children. He has to come to the hospital everyday anyway to get his daily methadone treatment… so it’s not like he has to go out of his way to get his children tested. And it’s not like he has to pay… just get the letter from SN and go to the blood clinic.

I tried asking him how I could contact his wife. I figured if she was ashamed to meet SN at the HIV clinic, maybe I could arrange to meet her outside where people won’t suspect anything. If she didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore, at least she needs to take care of herself (and her children, for heaven’s sake!) and go for tests just to be sure. I could tell Zali knew how to contact his wife; he just didn’t want to tell me or anyone else for that matter. All he said was, “Nantilah, saya cuba pujuk dia dulu.”

Well, his wife just left him about 2 weeks ago. She had been the family’s sole breadwinner for so many years. I guess she couldn’t take it any longer. But to leave behind her children as well??!!

You see, while the wife was out at work, Zali was home to take care of his children as he wasn’t working. His children became closer to him. I guess the children haven’t really missed their mother. And maybe for the time being the wife has not really missed her children yet. It’s just 2 weeks. I’m not sure how it will be later. If she doesn’t miss them at all then I don’t know what kind of a mother she is. I really wish to meet her so I know what’s in her mind.

For the time being, Zali isn’t working. To feed his children, he asked for money from his mother. His mother would scold him and nag, nag, nag… but she’d still give him some money. Not much, but he’s still surviving for the moment. I'm not sure how long he can last living that way. He has not been paying rental for the flat he’s staying in, and his utility bills are outstanding for 2 months. Not much, but still outstanding. He has thought of moving to his mother’s kampong house (his mother now stays with his younger sister in another town), but if he does that he will miss his methadone treatment – something he is not willing to let go of at the moment. (He even complained to SN that his HIV medication “potong steam” his methadone treatment…)

I don’t know yet how to help the children. I’ve told him that I’d only help him if he doesn’t miss his appointments and he brings his children for tests. I wouldn’t want any financial help to be misused by him to buy drugs instead and then he will start missing his methadone treatment. No way is help coming his way if he doesn’t want to help himself first. If he doesn’t take the necessary actions, then we may need to resort plan B to protect his children. What’s plan B did you ask? Heck I don’t know yet!!!

It’s really upsetting when innocent children suffer because of their parent’s doing.

Anyway, not long after I got home yesterday afternoon, my hand phone rang. It’s that James Bond ring tone again. Oh please, don’t let this be another problem, I hoped.

The call was from Yah. Like Fuzi, Yah is lucky that one of my blog readers is contributing a fixed amount every month into her bank account. It seems this month all welfare recipients are getting their financial aid late due to some technical problems. Yah had in fact tried to call the welfare office herself to enquire and was told, “Sabarlah sikit!” Yeah right, if the welfare staff got their salary late and told to “Sabarlah sikit”, I wonder what their reaction would be…

But Yah didn’t call me to complain about the welfare department. It was her 2nd daughter, Angah, who insisted that Yah called me. Angah came home from school and excitedly told her mother to “Taliponlah makcik, bagitau Angah dapat nombor 2.”

Yes, Angah got second in class in her recent school exams.

Well, Angah wasn’t the only one who got excited. I got excited as well. No, not so much because Angah got 2nd. Of course I am happy for her. I’d be happy if any of these children do well in their studies. It makes it worth all the effort of getting the much needed financial help for their schooling.

What made me excited was the fact that this seven year old girl herself asked her mother to call me and inform me of her achievement in school. Now THAT made it even more meaningful.

“Angah my dear, you really made my day… THANK YOU! Hugs, Makcik Pi.”

12 comments:

Apandi said...

Tak tau den apo nak kato. Lompang yo si Zali tu, bangang bebonar nyusahkan orang yo...Sighhhh

Remind me, Angah deserve something extra for her achievement. Receiver hew news must have been a pleasant experience.

Nak Tak Nak said...

Sorry sis, you have been tagged. This is for charity so please visit my blog

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Angah - a job well done!!!

Pi Bani said...

Apandi,
Kalau ekau jadi buddy, abih PLWHA punyo muko semuo merah padam kono lompang... hahaha...

And yes, I will think of something for Angah.

Pi Bani said...

Aiseh NTN, kita baru ingat nak senang-lenang tak kena tag. Kena juga! Never mind, since this is for charity, I will seriously consider it. Lambat lagi deadline kan?

Pi Bani said...

Anonymous,
A job well done indeed. I'll be sure to congratulate Angah personally the next time I see her.

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Pi,

In the midst of your good work, mana lah tahu you wanna spill some beans on 27 questions (if you did them, memang mesti interesting..he he) then please respond to this note:

I've decided to tag you for a nobel effort. Let's make it a reality for that cause. Please visit my blog to find out about it, but Pi, if you're busy, you don't have to do it. Thank you.

Pi Bani said...

K.Ruby,
Mentang-mentanglah I excited Angah dapat nombor 2, masing-masing nak tag I with this charity tag ye...

As I said to NTN, I will seriously consider. InsyaAllah bila cenang nanti...

ninuk said...

tumpang seronok for Angah and the fact that she's excited to tell you means that you're in her heart as much as she's in yr heart !

Pi Bani said...

Ninuk,
Either that or she expects a present from me... hehehe...

J.T. said...

In time, there will be an answer for Zali's children.

So happy for Angah. She thought of you. (and maybe she expects a present.. like you said). :D
Nevertheless, news like that just brightens up your day.

Pi Bani said...

JT,
Yes, news like that brightens up my day. I wish I could have more of those...