Early Tuesday morning, after my subuh prayer, when I was busy reading my emails and text messages regarding Kak Ruby's demise, out of the blue came a text message from Mrs K. Again, she was trying to borrow money - for one last time, she said. Even if it came at the right time, I wouldn't entertain her request; what more it came when I was still in shock over the news of Kak Ruby's demise. So no, I didn't bother to reply, and as of today, she too has been quiet.
Later in the afternoon, just when I was about to reach the junction to arwah Kak Ruby's house, a call came in from SN - causing me to make the wrong turn to the right when by right I should turn in left. Didn't wander off too far though, just stopped by the roadside, and only after I finished my conversation with SN did I make a turn back heading the right way.
SN would usually only call me when there is a problem to discuss regarding any of the PLHIVs. I don't get her calls often. So why did she call me this time?
Remember Zali, the guy whose wife left him and their 2 kids? Well, at least that was what Zali made us believe. I could understand why his wife left him, but I could never understand why she left the 2 girls as well, especially with Zali not having any source of income and still on methadone treatment to add. I've tried asking Zali for the wife's phone number so I could personally speak to her and so that I could understand the situation better, but Zali always came up with all sorts of excuses not to give me the number.
My main concern is the children's well being. And that too, is the concern of SN and Dr Ker at the HIV clinic. Which was why SN called me on Tuesday. Dr Ker had asked her to find out if Zali is getting any help for the children. If Zali himself is not working, how and what does he feed his children? I remember one time he called me, begging for help as he and his children had not eaten for the day and when I met up with him in town to pass some foodstuff to him, he cried and told his 3 year old daughter, "Hari ni kita dapat makan, adik!"
At one time, I did wonder what kind of a mother Zali's wife was... but now, come to think of it, I am not too sure if Zali had told me the whole truth. He did tell me before that he is unwilling to part with his children. And from my sources, I was told that once in a while when he goes to the methadone clinic, his wife was seen as well. Maybe that was the only time the wife could see the children (unlike Zali's earlier story to me that his wife never came back for the children).
And why on earth wouldn't Zali give me the wife's phone number? My guess is he doesn't want me to find out his wife's version of the story.
I do want to help the children, but any financial help would have to go through their guardian; in this case, Zali. But frankly I'm not sure if I can trust Zali with cash. What if he uses the money for drugs and stop going for his methadone? Which was why the last help I gave, I gave them foodstuff.
Nevertheless we did try to arrange to get financial help for the children. I had even got him to sign up the form to apply for Pediatric Aids Fund (under the Malaysian Aids Foundation), but Zali did not give me the copies of supporting documents needed, like his children's birth cert, his IC and his bank account details. OK, so maybe he doesn't have a bank account. But his wife is working with a government agency, sure she has a bank account. I really need to at least speak to his wife but Zali had not been cooperative. I don't even know the wife's name, and neither does SN.
Zali too still has a mother, who stays in another town. Zali doesn't want to stay with his mother as it would be difficult for him to come every day to Ipoh for his methadone. He doesn't want to leave his children with his mother either, because according to him, his children are too attached to him already.
Hmmm... makes me wonder... is he actually using his children to get sympathy and financial help? Aargh!
I am really concerned about the children's well being, but it is difficult to help when you don't get full cooperation.
So how to help?