We’re already in the final week of February (already?!). I was looking through my log book (I have one book specifically for me to note down and scribble matters pertaining to Buddies), scribbling down things to be discussed in the coming Board meeting on Tuesday night, when I noticed that I had not been doing any house visits at all in February. Other than the month being shorter than the rest, there was also the CNY break when I decided to take a break for myself as well. Besides, basically all the children’s back-to-school expenses had been settled and so I didn’t really need to run around as much as I had to in December/January.
I did visit Azimah at the beginning of this month, but since she didn’t want me to visit her at home, I met up with her elsewhere in town.
I also met Asiah when she came to Ipoh for her blood test, but then again, it wasn’t a house visit. As a matter of fact, I have never visited Asiah at her home before. The last time I and 2 other volunteers went to visit her at her hometown, we met her in town, not at her home.
I met up with Halimah at the hospital, again not a house visit. While Halimah and her husband do not mind us Buddies visiting them at home, I have yet to do so. Halimah, along with Azimah, are my latest clients and I went to visit Azimah first as I consider her case more urgent. For the moment Halimah needs to come to Ipoh quite often for her appointments before she delivers her baby, I will probably only visit her at home after she delivers.
Other than the above, all other contacts with the PLHIV infected/affected families were either by calls or SMS.
Mrs K sent me a text message during the CNY break, asking me when I’d be visiting her at her new place. I had been keeping a distance from her ever since she tried time and again to borrow money from me, and I think she knew I got rather pissed off with her. I am only monitoring her children’s school bus fares, which are banked in direct into the account of the bus operator.
Shila too sent me a text message even though I am not her buddy… asking me if I was busy and if I had started work (after the CNY break). The moment I told her I was already at my office, she replied, “Tngah kerja. OK x nk gnggu.” Obviously it wasn’t any serious matter – she just wanted to chat with somebody. I have introduced the PLHIV women to each other, and told them to exchange contact numbers so they could call/SMS each other whenever they feel like chatting with somebody. But I guess sometimes they don’t get the replies from their felllow PLHIVs due to “habis credit”, so they end up contacting me instead.
Today Rosnah’s SMS came in – informing me of her new phone number. Sigh, why lah these people like to change their phone numbers so often? I bet most of the contact numbers of our PLHIV clients that are kept in the files at our centre are no longer valid! I personally have been using the very same number ever since I first started using the hand phone more than 15 years ago. The only change made was the change from 010 to 019 (the earlier one didn’t use SIM card) but the rest of the 7 digit numbers had remained the same.
Anyway, I intend to visit Lin and send this month’s supply of groceries to her before my office trip this Friday, so that will probably be my only house visit for the month.
There are quite a number of clients whom I have not contacted for quite some time – Ifa, Sha, Ani, Nuri, Suhaila, Maria amongst them. I’d better call them up to find out how they’re doing… but I think I’ll wait until I come back from my trip.
What about Yah? Oh forget it, I’d have to wait for her to call me – she changes phone numbers as often as she changes her clothes! (Ok, ok, I’m exaggerating of course, but really, every time she calls it’d be from a different number…)