I remember once I was organizing a particular event and there was this lady who had agreed to help out to coordinate one of the programmes for the day. With everything set to go, the evening before the event, the lady called me up to tell me she was not able to make it as her son was very ill and she didn't feel good leaving him at home in such condition. She apologised profusely to me. I told her, "It's okay, I understand." She then replied, "How can you understand? You will not understand until you have children of your own."
I thought (and I still think) that last statement was not necessary. Had I persuaded her to attend the function no matter what her circumstances were because it was such a last minute notice, I would understand her statement. But I was in no way persuading her... as a matter of fact, I was empathizing. As someone who believes that "family comes first", I too, if I were in her shoes, pull out of the event. And when I told her I understood, it came from my heart. I may not have felt what she felt, but that didn't mean I didn't understand. Just because I am not married and I don't have children, doesn't mean I don't have feelings. Or does it?
Well, in the voluntary work that I'm doing right now, I never tell my PLHIV clients that I know how they feel, because really, I don't. I do however, understand their fears and their worries. But I have learnt not to say to them I understand because I may get the same response as I did in the above situation. Still, when we try to motivate them to move on with life, some may still say, "Easy for you to say, you don't know what it feels like."
So, we try to get these PLHIVs connected with each other, so that they'd get to know others "in the same boat". They'd probably understand each other better. I organised the deeparaya-do for the ladies so that they can get to know each other and so they may exchange ideas as to what they can do to get on with life after HIV. I encouraged them to exchange phone numbers so they can get in touch with each other. I brought Jah along with me during my house visits.
Well, Jah and Shila have become very good friends. And Asiah too would contact Jah from time to time. The rest, oh well, they may not be contacting each other, but when they do see each other at the hospital, they would at least talk to one another.
Fuzi and Yah too got to know each other during the deeparaya do. They exchanged phone numbers, and they do contact each other from time to time. But things are not well between those two now. Those who have been following my postings in this blog may remember I mentioned about Yah asking for the phone number of Fuzi's friend, which Fuzi gave without question and without even getting the friend's permission. Well, Yah did call up that friend and ended up telling him about Fuzi's HIV status.
Now things are getting worse. While they no longer talk to each other on the phone, they have been sending text messages accusing each other of this and that. Fuzi's message to Yah was to tell her to stop spreading news about her to others. Yah, on the other hand, denied she was involved in spreading lies about Fuzi, and in return she accused Fuzi of reporting bad things about her to me (yes, ME) and as a result she is no longer getting most of the financial assistance she used to get. Even a colleague of mine told me that when he met Yah recently, she was telling him the same thing.
Whoa, wait a minute! I must be such a powerful person to actually decide who should get assistance and who should not, as and when I like! Terror jugak Pi Bani ni ek...
To badmouth Fuzi further, Yah told my colleague that she once met Fuzi at a particular hotel in Ipoh. My colleague and I both know that Fuzi seldom gets out of her house and it was very unlikely that Fuzi was there. So he asked Yah back, "You jumpa Fuzi kat hotel tu, apa you buat kat situ?" Muahaha! With no way to say she wasn't there, Yah just said, "Jumpa kawan." OK fine, so if Fuzi really was at the hotel, if Yah herself could meet a friend there, why not Fuzi huh?
I am sick and tired of listening to their bickering. All the while I was afraid about a "Yah vs Lin" confrontation over Mr Darling but Lin is so fed up of Mr D she couldn't be bothered whoever wanted to be his girlfriend. I never thought the confrontation would be between Yah and Fuzi instead.
Ah, so much for getting them connected. Oh well, at least it proves that PLHIVs are humans like the rest of us. Some get along very well and become best of friends. Some are rather anti-social and not bothered to get in touch with the others. Some, end up bickering like Fuzi and Yah.
Maybe the next event I need to organise for my PLHIV clients is a ladies wrestling competition.
Am now imagining Fuzi and Yah in the ring, twisting each other's arms, pulling each other's hair, scratching each other's face... uhhh... I wouldn't want to be the referee lah...