I’ve been taking a break from my voluntary work one week before Raya. I figured I needed to spend more time at home for my own Raya preparations.
A few things happened during my break…
A new client was assigned to me, a pregnant 20 year old who already has a 2 year old child and now separated from her husband. I didn’t call her immediately as I figured there was no urgency in her case. So I just sent her a text message informing her I’d be calling her after Raya.
A trainee volunteer contacted me to say that one of his best friends had been diagnosed HIV+ and although he had spoken to the friend, he also suggested that it’s better if we could go and visit personally. But the friend stays outside of Ipoh and I simply didn’t have the time to go and visit. So I told the trainee volunteer that whatever it is, he’d have to wait until after Raya.
Another PLHIV, Wani, the lady whom I’ve been helping to get orders for some Raya cookies, was hospitalised and was even warded at the ICU. When her buddy informed me about it, I simply had too many things to do by then and couldn’t find the time to visit.
Yesterday the lady in charge of a shelter home up north where we had arranged to send a PLHIV in July this year, called me up to say that they had to send the guy to the hospital as his condition had deteriorated. She had tried to call the friends who brought him there but her calls didn’t get through. Well, I tried calling after that, but I couldn’t get them either. So I just sent a text message, hoping the friend would read it.
This morning, the lady at the shelter home called again, this time to inform me that the PLHIV had passed away early this morning. Since neither one of us could get hold of the friends, we left it to the person in charge at the hospital to arrange for his burial.
Today is the 5th day of raya, and although I’ve gone to the Buddies center today to check if there were any matters needing my attention, I haven’t started with my house visits yet. I hope to start with my rounds next week, after I complete my puasa enam and after I come back from KL on Sunday.
However this morning I decided to call and talk to my new client, Liza, the young pregnant lady; and also Wani, the one who was hospitalised just before raya.
My first call to Liza was not answered. So I called Wani to check if she was still at the hospital. When her husband answered the call, I thought maybe Wani was still in the ward. But he then passed the phone to Wani and she told me that she had just been discharged yesterday. Aah… so she had to spend Raya in the hospital. The fact that she had been discharged was good news enough for me, considering the fact that she was actually placed in ICU for a few days.
I still needed to get hold of Liza. She didn’t reply the SMS I sent her before Raya, and this morning she didn’t answer my call. In fact it sounded as though she purposely ended the call. Maybe she didn’t want me to contact her? Or maybe she wasn’t sure whether or not to respond? I decided to try one last resort… sending her another text message – this time telling her that I’m trying to arrange for assistance for her children and asking her to contact me.
It worked. She immediately replied my SMS saying, “Sory, sy x dgr bunyi hp td.” This time I called, and she answered immediately. She is 6 months pregnant, has a 2 year old boy, separated from her husband. She’s due to deliver in November and after that she will proceed with her divorce. Apparently she had earlier filed for divorce, but her husband promised to change, and she decided to give him a chance and withdrew the case. But nope, things don’t seem to work out. Liza now no longer works, and for the moment survives on her savings to support herself and her son. She’s hoping to get a job after she delivers.
I told Liza I’d need her to sign the necessary forms and pass me some supporting documents. Since she needs to come for her hospital appointment at the end of this month, I told her I’d meet her then. So yep, for more details on Liza’s case, we’d have to wait until I meet her later this month.