Ever since I joined Buddies in 2004, I have been assigned to so many HIV+ women, most of whom were just victims who got HIV from their husbands/ex-husbands/late husbands. Rose, Maria, Cikgu Maznah, Nina, Lily, Zainab, Yah, Fuzi, Rina, Hana, Jah, Sha, Lin, Sofie, Murni, Nuri, Ani, Suhaila, Asiah were all married at least once. Wow, such a long list – I don’t think any of the other Buddies have had such a long list. And I haven’t included people like Wani and Shila who kept contacting me even though I’m not their buddy. Out of that long list, 4 have passed away while one had been avoiding us from the beginning.
But this time I am not going to talk about the married ones. Having met another unwed mother during my clinic duty on Wednesday, I got reminded of the other HIV+ single ladies I’ve been assigned to. 6 of them altogether – Ifa, Noni, Zana, Sharifah, Anita and the latest, Azimah.
However, 2 of them, Ifa and Noni, did not get pregnant. So their problem were not as bad as the other 4.
It’s still too early for me to say anything much about Azimah, since I haven’t really dug deep enough, but I did manage to have a chat with Kak Ana and Sharifah after the clinic duty on Wednesday. Yep, I did get some updates from them about Sharifah & baby + Anita & baby.
Sharifah looked good. Although her present job is not a permanent job, at least it’s something. And she’s also still looking around for a permanent job, hopefully one which provides EPF and Socso as well, unlike her present job. During clinic, the doctor did ask if she wanted to transfer her appointment to her hometown in another state but Sharifah decided not to. Firstly, she didn’t want to risk having anyone know about her HIV at the hospital in her hometown. Secondly, her baby, my little Cek Mek, is for the moment here in Perak at Kak Ana’s shelter home. So having her appointment in Ipoh would give her the opportunity to be with her baby whenever she comes for her appointment.
But for the moment Sharifah is not so much of a problem. She’s calmer, smiles a lot more, and I must also add that amongst the unmarried single mothers I’ve handled thus far, she’s the most obedient and would at least listen to advice.
Our concern this time was more about Anita. Kak Ana is beginning to lose her patience with Anita. She’s not compliant with her ARV, and every time Kak Ana nags about the importance of taking her ARV on time, Anita would tell Kak Ana’s assistant, “Mama tu saja suka cari salah aku.” She’s stubborn, egoistic and wouldn’t listen to advice.
Worse, whenever her son does something naughty, she’d either pinch or beat the boy. Whenever Kak Ana reminded her not to be too hard on the son (the boy is usually not that naughty when taken care by others), again Anita would use that “saja suka cari salah aku” line. If she’s on the phone and the boy cries, it’s phone first, boy later. Sometimes the boy’s diapers got so wet, she still didn’t bother to change them. When asked why, she said, “Jimat sikit.” Jimat my foot!
Kak Ana does give her some money every month (she does help out with the cleaning up of the home). She uses it to buy cigarettes at the nearby shop and to top-up her phone so could communicate more often with her boyfriends. And I don’t know what story she has been telling a particular supplier to the shop, but somehow she managed to borrow money from that guy. (I believe her version of “pinjam” is “tak payah bayar”)
Once Kak Ana asked her if she actually loved her son. Her answer? “Kadang-kadang sayang, kadang-kadang tak.” Like that oso can ah??
And when she got mad, she’d threaten to leave the place. Eventually, Kak Ana too would naik angin.
Kak Ana: “Kalau engkau nak sangat keluar, Mama tak boleh larang. Bagi Mama nombor talipon Kak Afizah, biar Mama bagitau dia.” (actually Kak Ana does keep my number, she just wanted Anita to know that she’d have to inform me if Anita leaves the home)
Anita: “Tak ada. Dah buang dah nombor dia!”
Kak Ana: “Eh, engkau sedar tak dia yang tolong engkau selama ni?”
Anita is not ashamed to tell people she has HIV. Once she even told one of Kak Ana’s assistant, “Aku tak kisah bagitau orang aku ada HIV. Sekarang aku ada gang.” When Kak Ana’s assistant asked who, she told her about Sharifah, Cek Mek’s mother. Actually before that Kak Ana’s assistant never knew. Only Kak Ana and her husband had known about their HIV status before this.
And guess what? Anita had even attempted to seduce one of the male staff at the home! That guy is now so scared of Anita!
Whoa! Somehow, Anita is beginning to remind me more and more of Zana. Stubborn, hard-headed, never wanting to listen to advice, and… hungry for sex!
Kak Ana admitted to me that between Sharifah and Anita, the difference was bagai langit dengan bumi.
But looking at their cases, I realised that the main difference in the backgrounds of these 3 problematic young ladies were… family support! Sharifah’s family still accepts and supports her while it’s the total opposite for Anita and Zana.
Their upbringing had a lot to do with their attitude now. Sharifah is such a soft-spoken girl, and after having met her mother, I understand why. It’s just that she got into this mess because she had been so naive and as such, was easy prey.
Anita and Zana on the other hand were brought up in a totally different environment altogether. They were so used to using foul language, and I don’t think the word “sopan” exist in their dictionaries. They never got enough love at home, and so they go out looking for so-called “love” (but got it all wrong and related it to “love-making” instead).
So we can’t really blame Zana and Anita 100% for becoming who they are. Only problem is, would we have enough will and patience to guide them back to the right path? Sigh…
I have high hopes that Azimah would not turn out to be anything close to Zana and Anita. She does, after all, have the backing and support of her mother and brother. She and her baby have a home to return to. THAT makes a whole lot of a difference.
I hope to have a more woman to woman (makcik to anak muda is more like it) talk with Azimah soon. And hopefully her mother too would want to meet up with me.