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)

Sunday, 2 March 2008

House visits

I was in my office on Friday afternoon when a text message came in from Mrs K’s number. Usually, her daughter Nor would be the one to send me any text messages, but since she has gone to a boarding school, this time the text message was sent by Shah, Mrs. K’s eldest son.

Shah told me that his youngest sister’s milk powder was running low and he asked when I’d be coming. He said Nor would be home next week during the school holidays and so he thought I could come then. But during school holidays there’d be kenduris for me to attend, so no, I can’t visit them then. Since I’d be on clinic duty this coming Wednesday, I was thinking of visiting them later that day, after office hours. So I replied Shah’s SMS, asking if anyone would be home on Wednesday after work. The reply came back from Shah…

“Ibu kerja. Ayah dengan Shah ada kat rumah. Shah cuti atau ponteng sebab makcik nak datang.”

WHOA!! Now hold your horses, boy! I’m the coordinator for my NGO’s Children Education Fund and we’ve been working hard last year to materialize the Education Sponsorship for Children. And you want to make ME as an excuse to ponteng sekolah??? No way, boy, no way! Shah will be sitting for his SPM this year. No doubt he feels he has no hope at all in doing well in the exams, but that doesn’t mean he should give up altogether.

I told Shah not to miss school simply because I was coming. After all, Shah is usually home by 2 pm so he should be home by the time I reach their house. But I didn’t want to take any chances. I told him I’d try to visit on Sunday instead. His mother should be home then.

Hana too sent me a text message to thank me for the pocket money for her children. Her schooling children are under sponsorship and are eligible for pocket money every month. The credit should go to the sponsors, not me. I did tell Hana earlier to inform me if any money is needed for anything to do with her children’s schooling as the sponsorship should cover those as well. In the same message that Hana sent me, she mentioned about her eldest daughter needing to pay some things for her school sports and her monthly tuition. I thought I might as well visit Hana on the same day – on Sunday.

Actually my house lawn is due for mowing this week. That was why initially I didn’t plan to do any house visits over the weekend. But I didn’t want to risk Shah missing school because of my visit, so I might as well settle my house visits this weekend.

So today, after mowing the lawn (and after my bath of course!) , I immediately headed for Mrs. K’s house. I got there around 10 am. Mr. K’s father was also there so I had to be very careful with my words as he doesn’t know anything about his son being HIV infected. Mrs. K told me that Nor said she’d be coming home today when she heard I was coming. But I had a few more houses to go to and so I couldn’t wait. But it’s heartening to hear from Mr and Mrs K that Nor’s academic results have improved ever since she went to boarding school. They have exams every alternate week and so far Nor has been scoring 90+ for most of her subjects. Even for her worst subject, she scored 80+. That just shows that she can perform if given the opportunity. Last year she scored 2A’s and 3B’s for her UPSR despite having to miss school quite often to take care of her younger siblings.

I only stayed at their house for about 15 minutes or so. I then tried to call Lin to ask if she was home but she didn’t answer my call. Since her house is on the way, I still decided to drop by. I needed to pass her this month’s bus fares for her children. When I got to her house, her 17 year old son and her 11 year old daughter opened the door and told me that their mom was not around. For most of my other clients, I’d probably leave the bus fares with any of their older children. But knowing from Lin that her son smokes and sometimes takes his mother’s or sister’s money for whatever purposes without telling, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to leave the money with him. He may be tempted to use the money for other purposes instead. So I figured I might as well bank in the money into Lin’s bank account instead.

Next stop was supposed to be Hana’s house. But since Jah stays in the same town and I know for a fact she loves to go jalan-jalan anywhere, I told her I’d pick her up first before going to Hana’s house. After all, it would be a good idea to connect them both.

The moment I parked my car at the bottom of the hill, Jah asked which one was Hana’s house. And the moment I showed her Hana’s house, Jah screamed, “Alamak! Kita kena panjat bukit ke kak??!” Hehehe… you see, Jah, despite being the jovial type, is also a very ladylike sort of person, so climbing up the hill is considered “extreme” to her. But she managed. When Hana saw Jah, she started looking at Jah up and down. I was thinking maybe she didn’t like the idea of me bringing someone else with me. So I introduced Jah to her, telling her that Jah is her fellow PLWHA.

Actually the reason Hana was looking at Jah up and down was because she thought Jah looked familiar. After asking a few questions, apparently they found out that they had mutual school friends and they had actually met each other before way back during their school days. Such a small world indeed. Oh well, the town they’re staying in is a small town anyway…

So yeah, they hit it off quite well although Hana isn’t much of a talkative person. But with people like Jah, I think even those unable to talk would be tempted to talk! It’s not easy to see a smile on Hana’s face but today I actually saw her smile listening to Jah talking.

After leaving some money to Hana for her daughter’s tuition, we left. Hana needed to get some sleep as she’s on night shift this week, so we didn’t want to stay too long.

So off we went, this time I brought Jah for lunch before sending her back home. She of course was thrilled. Every time she comes to Ipoh she’d call me to ask if I was free to buy her lunch. This time I was in her hometown instead to buy her lunch.

I sent Jah home after lunch. Jah’s mother invited me in, so I obliged. Actually I wanted to go in even if she didn’t invite me. You see, Pi needed to pee… hehehe…

So yeah, I went to 4 of my client’s homes today but only managed meet 3 of them. It is the season where YB-wannabes are doing home visits for their campaigns. Today I was doing home visits too but nope, none of the election posters in the constituencies I visited today had my picture on them so I definitely was not campaigning lah… ;)


Akmal said...

Kak Pi,
Shah maybe wanted to do that because he respects you. But you said it. Class is not to be compromised. Anyway, it is indeed a good news knowing Nor is doing great :)

Pi Bani said...

Respect tak respect tu I tak tau lah. What I do know is that Shah memang dah tak minat nak pergi sekolah. I do not want to be the factor for him to miss school when my main concern is for these children to get at least basic education.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

i dont mean to be mean or anything like that but i was wondering while reading this post, dont they have a center to stuff all the goodies and get the PLWHAs to come and collect instead the volunteers send them at their doorstep? maybe it could be inconvenient to some but what if the milk has completely ran out and the their appointed volunteer is nowhere to be reach? but then again, i'm sure there's a logical reason behind it.

Pi Bani said...

We do have some stuff at our NGO centre but the problem is these are poor families staying out of Ipoh. Travelling to Ipoh needs money too...

Besides, visiting them at home can give us a better picture of their situation. They'd usually inform us before they totally run out of supplies anyway. Besides, the supply of milk powder is just additional help to them and it's not going to be forever. They need to learn to survive without our help. Our target is to help them to become independent - not rely on contributions all their life.

ninuk said...

Undilah Pi Bani !
If Shah is already not interested in school, may be need to keep him long enough to complete his SPM and start introducing him options of kemahiran skills.

Pi Bani said...

Undi, undi, jangan tak undi!

Memang our intention is to introduce him to kemahiran skills immediately after SPM. Sekarang ni dia pi sekolah pun sebab dia represent the school for football and rugby, so at least there is still something to keep his interest in the school, although bukan pasal studies...