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, 26 December 2007

Back to school: house visits and shopping!

This week is the “back to school” rounds for me. Despite not having any children of my own, somehow there are so many children’s educational needs I have to look after. Thank goodness the welfare of Hana’s children is being looked after by Pat, a fellow volunteer who stays in the same town as Hana.

My first visit this week was on Monday to Mrs. K’s house. I dropped by their house after settling some things to do in another town near their place. Although the main reason for the visit was to bring this month’s supply of diapers, milk powder and groceries, I also needed to make sure the children’s educational needs are met.

They have yet to buy the necessary school necessities. Mrs. K said she wanted to go after Christmas. Since I didn’t have the time to bring them out to shop for their uniforms etc, I gave Mrs. K some money first and told her to get the necessary receipts when she buys the schooling necessities.

Mrs. K’s second child will be in form one in 2008, so she definitely cannot use her old uniforms. When I asked for the list provided by the school for things to be bought at the school co-op and fees to be paid to the school, what was shown to me confirmed my doubts when the budget was announced earlier about school fees being abolished. I knew all along that amongst the fees that needed to be paid to the school, only a small amount consists of “school fees”. And so that means only a small portion need not be paid this coming year, the rest are just the same.

Included in the list of “compulsory contribution” were fees for the school’s internal exams, Majlis Sukan Negeri, co-curriculum and school magazine. In addition there are workbooks and sports attire that must be bought from the school co-op, not from anywhere else. So Mrs. K’s daughter’s list totaled to almost RM100. And while it’s true that certain fees/contribution need not necessary be paid if they can’t afford it, in reality many children do get pressured by their class teacher to pay up even the so-called “derma” PIBG. True, the school can’t do anything if the students don’t pay up, but when the children get pressured by their teachers, don’t you think they will become reluctant to go to school?

Well, I do hope Mrs. K’s daughter will get more understanding teachers… unlike the teachers at her brother’s school who kept pressuring him last year.

My next visit was to Shila’s house on Christmas day. Shila had been unwell and the visit was mainly to find out how she was doing. Initially Shila thought she had measles. While her fever subsided, the so-called measles did not. When she showed me her legs, I knew it wasn’t measles. It looked reddish here and there and some blue-black here and there. It was either some side effects from the HIV medication which she just started to take about 2 weeks ago… or she may have some other blood related problems. But no, definitely not measles. Her appointment at the HIV clinic will be some time in January 2008 but I told her to call SN the very next morning to get an earlier appointment. Shila’s mother actually suggested that Shila stopped taking the medication but I told her to consult the HIV clinic before she takes any action on her own.

Anyway, Shila had already bought Laila’s schooling needs and showed me the list provided by the school. I reimbursed Shila (and my NGO will have to reimburse me later) a total amount of RM220. And Laila’s only going to be in standard 2…

Then last night, at midnight while I was asleep, a text message came in on my hand phone. Being the light sleeper that I am, I woke up at the sound of the SMS tone. (My hand phone is on 24/7 in case of emergencies.) With my blurry vision (especially so when I was just partially awaken from my precious sleep!) and without my reading glasses anywhere near, I could only figure out it had something to do with joining the Buddies. I just went back to sleep… if it was an emergency that person would have called.

This morning when I was fully awake, and with reading glasses on, I read the message:
“Saya xxxx (name of the person). Saya nak tau macam mana nak join the buddies.”

I wasn’t really sure what this person wanted. To join Buddies as a volunteer or to seek our support services? So I replied her message asking if she wanted to join us as a volunteer.

Her reply came when I was at my office this morning:
“Tak… saya ada hiv… saya dapat dari suami yang tak bertanggungjawab… saya rasa tertekan sangat…”

I told her I’d call her later today. I was pretty busy in my office this morning with calls coming in and my staff consulting me with lots of things, so there was not enough privacy to talk with a depressed HIV infected person. The lady told me the best time to call would be between 3 to 4 pm.

Anyway, I promised Fuzi I’d bring her and her children to go shopping for schooling needs today, so after lunch and after my zuhr prayer, off I went to fetch them. They were already waiting outside their house when I got there. House already locked, all set to go!

While in the car, Fuzi told me she met up with Yah at the hospital a few weeks ago. Yah told Fuzi that I was upset with her. Hah! At least even with her lack of focus, Yah noticed I was upset with her! Fuzi told me that once Yah even called her asking if she could sleep over at Fuzi’s house. Not knowing anything, Fuzi just said yes. But Yah didn’t call again later, so I guess she slept over at somebody else’s house.

Even Fuzi noticed that Yah seemed to spend a lot of time elsewhere instead of at home where her children are. And one thing Yah never dared tell me was that some of her out-of-town visits were not really necessary. She went karaoke-ing!!! She has 4 children at home… she gets welfare help… her 2 older children wants to go to an orphanage… AND SHE WENT KARAOKE-ING????!!! And then asked Fuzi if she could sleep over at Fuzi’s house? Is that her way of trying to get Mr. Darling out of her mind?! Sheeesh!

Anyway, let’s forget about Yah for the moment. Let’s get back to Fuzi’s children. Brought them to a hypermarket, and let them choose their needs. It wasn’t an easy task when you have to buy schooling needs for 1 secondary school child, 2 primary school kids and 1 more going into kindergarten. The one for kindergarten needed shoes, socks, stationeries and school bag. The rest needed uniforms, shoes, socks, stationeries and school bags.

While waiting for them to find the various sizes for themselves, I decided to go to a quiet corner and call the depressed lady. I just needed to find out some basic info first and then follow up with her later.

Lin is a 41 year old lady with 6 children – ranging from 10 to 20 years old. She got my number from the HIV clinic. She is no longer staying with her husband. (She said dah berpisah, but I’m not too sure if she meant divorced or separated – cannot drill her with too many questions just yet) Lin was a full time housewife, so after her separation, she and her children had been staying with Lin’s 70 year old father. Her husband gives them money once in a while, as and when he likes… as and when he has money.

Since Lin stays in another town, and I am a bit tied up for the moment to visit her at her house, I asked if she’d be coming to Ipoh anytime soon. She is supposed to come for her blood test some time in early January, I asked her to call me then so we could meet up. It is much easier to talk face to face rather than on the phone.

So, more about Lin later after I meet up with her…

Back to Fuzi and her children… again…

After getting all the necessary schooling items, plus diapers and milk powder for little Iwan, off we went to the counter to pay. Today being a working day and after Christmas, the queue wasn’t too bad. And the bill… came up to… a whopping RM600 - for Fuzi’s children alone… and we haven’t included the amount that needs to be paid to their school yet!

Then I took them to the food court for some makan-makan and minum-minum before sending them back home. And before I went off, I left Fuzi whatever necessary amount that’s needed to be paid to the school.

I think this weekend I should be able to relax a bit… or at least I hope so…


Nightwing said...

Helo Kak Pi,

Really a busy day for you. Ya, hope you can have a break this weekend.

Poor lady (the one that msg abt his husband not responsible)...Hope she is able to get help and get some advice.

Raden Galoh said...

Salam KakPi...Wah you are as hectic as the shells hulu ke hilir...But all are in the name of good cause.! Kudos akak!

Aiyyoo..what happend to Yah Ah Ngau? She's losing focus..way, way, diverted...(ada tali nak ikat ikat dia supaya boleh pusing balik and tengok I mean, real tengok anak-anak dia, tak?)

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

wah wahh...sibuk bebenor kak pizah kita ni...

so sad to read another hiv victim as a result from someone else's wrong-doing. the relevant authority should really do more, as in alot more in exposing such similar cases to deter others from taking drugs and screwing up sex-workers. the current campaign is obviously not much a success. when lust takes control, we know damn well consequences will have to settle for the back seat.

Pi Bani said...

Yep, the poor lady. I know for sure she needs financial help to support her children's educational needs. Will try my best to help her out. As for her own emotions, what she needs now to talk to someone. That's why she decided to call me.

Pi Bani said...

Raden Galoh:
Nak ikat tali kat Yah Ah Ngau? Alahai, nak ikat kot mana? Sure dia terlepas balik. Even Fuzi commented that Yah ni dah banyak benar berubah. Fuzi heran macam mana Yah yang ada anak kecik tu boleh berjalan ke sana ke mari macam orang bujang...

Pi Bani said...

Time dah dekat nak buka balik sekolah ni memang le sibuk bebenor. Tambah pulak anak ramai kan?

As for the various campaigns, well, some people tu kita dah expose to them macam-macam pun depa tak serik-serik jugak lagi.

ruby ahmad said...

Hello Pi,

Apa Yah ber-karaoke-ing? Ha ha. I think sakit angau dia amat hebat tu. Sakit angau susah nak ubat Pi!

I can imagine the frenzy of 'going back to school' preparation. God is great, looks like you have more kids than most. That is surely blessings! Keep it up.

Whatever you do just vote for me and I will promise anything..ha ha!


Pi Bani said...

Yah angau, I yang naik sasau dibuatnya!

You'll promise anything? Nanti I'll list down what I want ya?

And may you have a great year ahead!

Zawi said...

If we can vote Ruby for PM we will solve alot of problems. Money spent unnecessarily in excess of actual budget can be channel to charitable organizations like your NGO to help the unfortunate.
Sad to hear that Yah Ah Ngau is straying further and further.
Did my small bit for charity.

Pi Bani said...

Actually people like Yah also spending unnecessarily in access of her own budget... how like that?!