After completing an additional 6 days of fasting last week, and a trip to KL over the weekend to attend my niece’s engagement ceremony, today I finally got back into my normal voluntary work mode, although initially earlier in the morning I wasn’t really sure if I’d be starting my Raya rounds today. You see, I just came back from KL last night, and this morning it was raining, so yep, the lazy bug did try to convince me to stay home for an additional day of break.
However by 11 am the sun was out, and knowing that I’d need to start mobilizing myself before I got too lazy, I decided to visit Fuzi’s and Sofie’s family in the afternoon. Sofie’s kids had earlier on invited me to come to their house for Raya, and I promised I’d do so after I completed my puasa enam, and so today was just the right time to visit them. Fuzi’s house is just on the way, I might as well drop by her house as well.
And so after my zohor prayer today, off I went… first, to a minimarket to get some hampers. Some blog readers/facebook friends had given me some cash to be distributed to the HIV families under me – some to be given as duit raya (to the single mothers and to the children as well) and some to buy whatever suitable. As in previous years, the kids had always been excited when I brought hampers for them. It didn’t matter that I bought the inexpensive hampers.
First up, Fuzi’s house. The moment I gave the signal to turn right to her house, my first reaction was… WAAA… RUMAH RAYA!! New paint!
Fuzi had been saving some money from her monthly aid to buy baju raya for her kids, but during Ramadhan, her kids, being orphans, were chosen by a political organisation to be brought to a supermarket together with some other kids to shop for their baju raya. So, the money that Fuzi had been saving to buy baju raya, she used to buy some paint instead, and they ended up painting the house themselves.
Anyway, it was good to note that Hafiz, Fuzi’s 12 year old son, who used to be very naughty and was always out with friends, prefers to stay home a lot more now. He will be sitting for his UPSR beginning tomorrow. Hopefully he will be able to do well.
After munching some raya cookies and finishing the glass of drink prepared by Wina, Fuzi’s eldest daughter, I headed off to my next destination… Sofie’s house. Sofie’s son, Saiful, too will sit for his UPSR tomorrow.
Ahh, the right time to visit the 2 families, to at least give some words of encouragement to both Hafiz and Saiful; although when I planned to visit them, it didn’t really come to my mind that both families had children sitting for UPSR.
My visit to Sofie’s was also just in time before she moves to another house tomorrow. She was just about to tell her sister to inform me about it when she received my text message this morning saying I’d be coming.
Yes, Sofie had been wanting to move to another house earlier on because the whole neighborhood knows about her HIV (courtesy of her mulut becok sister who had been spreading the news around the kampong) but decided to postpone it until Saiful completes his UPSR. She figured she might as well wait until the end of the year so she can arrange to change their schools as well. Besides, she felt financially she wasn’t ready. The present house is rented at RM150 per month while the rental rate of all other houses she had been enquiring were at least RM250 per month.
However, beginning the end of Ramadhan, Sofie’s other sister, Norma, had come to stay with her. Norma, who used to stay up north, had been the one most supportive of Sofie. Whenever she heard that Sofie was unwell, she’d ride her motorbike from all the way up north just to check on her sister. A vast difference from the mulut becok sister who stays in the same neighborhood.
Well, Norma now is separated from her husband, and she has decided to come and stay with Sofie. She had been staying with Sofie since a few days before Raya.
So, what made Sofie change her mind about moving house? And more so, why is she moving tomorrow when UPSR is to start?
You see, in addition to having the whole neighborhood know about her HIV, the house she’s staying in tend to get flooded whenever there’s heavy rain. No, not the whole neighborhood, just her house. Worse, the septic tank outside her house had been full for some time and Sofie had informed her landlord a few times. But the landlord refused to do anything. On the first day of Raya this year, the same thing happened. Imagine having dirty water (including those overflowing from her septic tank) in the kitchen. Yucks!
Again Sofie informed the landlord. And all the landlord could say was to tell her to just use buckets or pails to clear the water out of the kitchen! Sheeesh!
Sofie got fed-up, so did Norma. They both decided to look for another house, with Norma agreeing to share the rental and deposit. Off they went searching, and over the weekend, they managed to find a house in a nearby town at a rate of RM250 per month. Although the place is a bit further for the children to go to school, it was still accessible within 30 minutes by car/motorbike/bus. Sofie or Norma would be sending/fetching the children to/from school with their motorbikes until school session for the year ends. After that, she’ll arrange for the children to be transferred to schools nearer to their new house.
Once they settle down, Sofie intends to set up a small stall selling kuih or burger near her place, beside the main road.
That’s one thing I like about Sofie, no matter what kind of hardship she has to go through, she’s always thinking of something to earn her own income instead of depending on financial aid all the time.
Well, looks like my next visit at the end of the month to deliver groceries will be to her new home…