As mentioned in my previous posting, I have not been in contact with some of my PLHIV clients for quite some time. When I updated my PLHIV list, I realized there were 21 names in my contact list - 19 of them my clients, while the other 2, although not my client, do contact me from time to time. With some of the volunteers having only 2 or 3 clients each, it's about time I pass some of my clients to other volunteers. Otherwise, I may not be able to keep in touch with them as often as I should.
Today, Thursday, as usual I went to my NGO center to check on admin matters. Since I am usually occupied with other things when I'm at my office or at home, I took the opportunity to call some of my clients to find out how they are doing.
First up was Lin. I have yet to tell her that I have already got sponsors for her 2 schooling children although I have already banked in the sponsorship amount for January to March. So I told her that the pocket money for her children will be banked into her account every month, and if there is any other amount which may be required from time to time pertaining to their schooling needs, Lin needs to inform me. Lin seems to be doing okay now. Previously she used to help out at her brother's food stall from morning to 12 noon. Now that her children have got bicycles as transportation for them to go to school, Lin no longer needs to go home in the afternoon. She helps out at her brother's stall a little longer and so gets paid a little more. That's one thing I like about Lin - she looks for opportunities instead of waiting for help just staying at home. Lin's next appointment in Ipoh will be in 2 weeks time, on the day when I'll be on clinic duty, so hopefully I will be meeting her then.
After Lin, I called Ifa. There was ringing tone... then it seemed as though someone did answer but immediately switched the phone off. Ifa knows my number, so she would have recognised the call was from me. Did she purposely switch off the phone because it was ME who called? Maybe she no longer wants to be reminded of anything to do with HIV and I somehow do remind her of that? Ifa had before this repeatedly insisted that she no longer has HIV. According to her, blood tests done at a particular klinik kesihatan elsewhere did not show anything about her having HIV. Duh, of course la sister, the blood test done at that clinic was not for HIV so how could the test result show it? According to SN, tests done at the Ipoh GH showed that not only had Ifa's CD4 drop drastically, her viral load had increased too. Probably because of non-compliance in taking her medication. Ifa had admitted to me before this that on weekends when she goes to discos with her friends, she wouldn't take her medication as she'd be taking ecstasy pills instead. Aduh... Ifa, Ifa. Since she did not answer (or did not want to answer) my call, I don't know what happened to her khalwat case. I wonder if she has married the boyfriend with whom she was caught during the Jabatan Agama raid last year.
After my call to Ifa went unanswered, I tried calling Suhaila & Samsul. My colleague who's in charge of clients welfare told me that he had been trying to call Samsul for the past month but the calls were never answered. So I tried calling and lucky me, this time Samsul answered the call. He's still doing his old job of collecting recyclable goods and not earning much. I asked him why he has yet to take up the job as security guard in Ipoh which not only pays more, but more importantly, fixed. Samsul said he had discussed matters with Suhaila, and they felt more comfortable staying where they are staying now. Oh well, if they themselves are not willing take up the opportunities presented to them, there's not much we Buddies can do. Sometimes you need to let go of something to get something else. They'd better learn to accept that.
After speaking to Samsul, I tried calling Ani. The phone rang, but nobody answered. The same thing happened the last time I tried to call her. I wonder what's going on in her life now. She called me quite often last time when she needed help with her EPF withdrawal, then she got her money... I guess she no longer needs me? Oh well, at least I hope that meant she put her EPF drawings to good use, unlike some others who'd finish their EPF in just a few weeks and then start telling all sorts of sad stories to get more help.
Couldn't get hold of Ani, so I tried calling our live-wire, Jah. Jah would usually quickly answer the phone if it's me calling, and today was no different - although she did sound a bit blur (macam orang baru bangun tidur) at first.
Me: "Oi, tidur ke?"
Jah: "Biasa la kak... tidur makan tidur makan itu je lah kerja saya."
Me: "Tapi badan kurus macam tu juga, tak naik-naik kan?"
Jah: "Tau tak apa..."
Typical Jah indeed. Like Lin, Jah too will be coming to Ipoh in 2 weeks time for her appointment. When I told her I'd be on clinic duty on that very day, she sounded so happy. I know what's on her mind... free lunch. (makan juga yang diingatnya...)
Then I tried calling one of my clients whom I have yet to get in touch with - a 60-something year old makcik. No, not that I haven't had the time to contact her. I did try earlier but my calls never got through. I always get the "please try later" response. Today was no different. The phone number belonged to her step-daughter, but according to my colleague who was on clinic duty when this makcik was referred to them, the step-daughter was the one who gave the number and agreed that we should call her step-mother on that number. I think I will need to check with SN on this makcik's next appointment at the HIV clinic and try to meet her then.
Lastly, I tried calling Wani. She's not my client but now that her children are covered under our Education Sponsorship program, I wanted to get her bank account number so I can easily bank in the monthly sponsorship amount direct into her account on time. But, like my call to the above makcik, my call to Wani also ended up with the "please try later" response.
Oh, I haven't called Yah, have I? Well, no need to. Not today. My colleague (the one handling clients' welfare) got a call from her yesterday - telling him that she hasn't been getting her monthly welfare aid. Actually my colleague had already told her earlier that it's normal for the welfare department to bank in the money late for the first quarter of each year, but Yah still wanted to complain again anyway. When asked if she has got herself a job, she said nobody wants to take her in. And she also added, "Saya dah baik sekarang." Uhhh... is she finally admitting that she had been bad before?
Why was she saying that to my colleague anyway? My guess is she still believes that Fuzi had been badmouthing her to me and as a result, she is getting lesser financial assistance because I decided so. Now she wants to get back into our good books so she can get more help.
Aduh, ini perempuan ingat Pi Bani tu siapa? So powerful to stop financial assistance to her? Or so rich to give her money?
Hmmm... maybe she should hurry up and try her luck in Bukit Kilo (orang sekarang mana pakai gantang dah??!) before 7th April. Uhh no, not to bertanding atas tiket bebas using whatever symbol, but to ask for help lah. This is the time to ask whaaat??!!