For the past few days I've been making/receiving quite a number of phone calls to/from my PLHIV clients. Not forgetting a few replies to my earlier SMS on Wednesday last week regarding our coming family day.
After Murni became the first to confirm her attendance together with her 5 children, early the next morning, Mrs K replied my SMS - saying they would like to join too. They had missed last year's family day at the Taiping Zoo as we were not able to contact them then. (at that time Mr K had sent their phone to the kedai pajak gadai)
Later in the afternoon, while I was at Buddies Centre, Fuzi called. I have not spoken to her for quite some time now. She herself dared not call me too often after the 'lecture' I gave her - about simply waiting for others to do things for her instead of taking the initiative herself. Things had actually improved a whole lot for her family, and so I want her to be more independent. I will slowly pass her case to another volunteer, although I will still follow up on her from time to time. Since she will be joining the family day with all her 5 children, maybe I can introduce her to her new buddy on that day.
After Fuzi's call, I decided to call Sha. I didn't send her the standard SMS I sent to the rest because the last time I contacted her was Raya last year! You see, despite being rather paranoid during her pregnancy (due to listening to "advise" from unqualified people), after she gave birth, and after just a few visits from me, both at the hospital and at her home, she's a much calmer person now. Of course, it helps that her present husband, although negative, is very supportive of her. It's her ex-husband who's in denial and simply refused to go for blood tests. Since Sha is one of the less problematic ones, and I have so many other problematic clients, I would usually only check on Sha once in a while. In fact, the last time I went to visit her was when her baby was 10 months old. Now he's already 2 1/2 years old! And confirmed free of HIV! Anyway, Sha is interested to join the family day if she and her family doesn't have any other plans for the day.
After Sha, I called Jah. I knew Jah is the type who'd jump at the opportunity to jalan-jalan anywhere, and since she didn't reply my SMS, I decided to give her a call. As expected, "Credit habis kak, tak sempat top up lagi." And yes, as expected too, she does want to join the family day - no doubt about it.
Yah never replied my SMS. When I mentioned about it to my colleague who was also at the center, he told me that Yah changed her number yet again. And she never bothered to tell me about it? My colleague wanted to give me her number (she had called him earlier to seek some info regarding welfare matters), but I told him not to. If Yah really wanted to keep in touch with me, she'd inform me herself of her new number. Now that I no longer send her groceries and baby's needs, if she feels that I am no longer of any use to her and as such no necessity to give me her number, let her be.
I guess my colleague must have told her what I said. On Friday a call came in from an unfamiliar number. "Kak, saya ni." I knew immediately it was Yah. Nobody else introduces themselves as 'saya'. She wanted to tell me that she's interested to join the family day. And her children? Well, her 2 older children are still at the same orphanage while Abang Chik, the one and only son, is in the process of being sent to a "pusat pemulihan akhlak". A pusat pemulihan akhlak for a 9 year old boy?? Yah said he seemed to be getting naughtier and naughtier each day and a teacher is arranging for him to be sent to the so-called Pusat Pemulihan Akhlak, as claimed by Yah. Frankly I'm not too sure what to believe. Abang Chik had always been a hyperactive child and as suggested by one of my blog readers, he may be having some sort of ADHD, and so I did tell Yah to bring him for proper checkup. She never did.
But Yah said she will be joining the family day together with Aini, her youngest daughter who's now already 3 years old. I used to deliver diapers and milk powder to their home quite regularly when the girl was younger, to the extent that the girl's Tok Wan taught Aini to call me Mama! Well, this Mama hasn't met this baby of hers for so long, I doubt the girl would recognise me any more.
Later at night, Lin sent me a text message, to inform me that her daughter wanted to attend a "Teknik Menjawab Soalan UPSR" course in Ipoh and had been pestering Lin to call me to ask if the payment could be covered by our sponsorship programme. RM60 is a big amount if Lin has to fork out her own money. I told her as long as it's for her daughter's education, it should be covered.
I had already told Lin earlier about the family day, and most likely she and her children will attend because as she always told me, "Kalau harapkan saya, tak berjalanlah budak-budak ni." You see, when she was still married to Mr Darling, she was a full time housewife who stayed home almost all the time. So she simply doesn't know where or even how to bring her kids for jalan-jalan. Anyway, when I mentioned the town where we will be having our family day, Lin's 12 year old daughter wasn't sure whether she should believe me. Mention the town and the first and only thing that came to her mind was a mental hospital (ah, I bet now you know the town I'm talking about, kan?). And of course, it didn't help that her Makcik Afizah's facial expression doesn't change much whether she's serious or joking! The poor girl must be confused...
Sunday morning I went to visit Zainab. Since her phone had long time gone kaput, I couldn't call or SMS her. Thank goodness she stays in Ipoh, so I could just go and drop by her house. I couldn't check if she was home or not, so I simply redah - bringing with me some foodstuff for her kids, and an old phone of mine, which has some defects here and there but still usable to make/receive calls or send/receive text messages.
Too bad Zainab wasn't home. Only her hubby Zaki and the kids were home, so I didn't go in. I just talked to Zaki for a while outside the house. Zainab had to do overtime work - which is a good sign, really. I guess the economy is getting a bit better. Before this, the factory where she works had stopped overtime for a while. I told Zaki about the family day, and he promised he'd get Zainab to call me back (now that they've got a phone) once they can confirm if they're joining or not.
Well, so far, from my list of clients alone, I already have 10 adults (including sons/daughters past schooling age) and 18 children confirming their attendance. There are already enough people to make a family day even if clients of other volunteers don't intend to join. But what I noticed this time is that 4 of the babies I used to deal with quite a lot when they were younger (either visiting them at the hospital when they were born, or delivering babies' needs to their homes - keeping a close tab on them until they were confirmed free from HIV), now aged between 2 1/2 to 3 years old, will be joining. It will be some sort of gathering for 'my babies'.
Coincidentally, 'my babies' joining the event are 2 boys and 2 girls. Maybe I should be a matchmaker now, huh? ;) Better still, pair up Fuzi's 3 year old cute looking son with Yah's 3 year old cute looking daughter. Uh no... on second thoughts, better not... I may end up having to come up with my own version of "Ibu Mertuaku" script later on as Fuzi and Yah are not in good terms with each other... what more to berbesan... they perang besar you see...