I had to attend a meeting in Lumut this morning, final preparations for next week’s exhibition (organised by MAC) in TLDM Lumut. It had been quite a while since I last went to Lumut, so I wasn’t really sure how long it would take to get to Lumut from Ipoh. I wasn’t really worried about how to get to TLDM as I know all I had to do was get on the Ipoh-Lumut highway…. jalan lurus, jangan belok-belok… lalalalalala…
However, there were quite a number of traffic lights I had to pass along the road, and it so happened every time I reached the traffic lights, the lights turned RED! When I finally reached TLDM, I had to stop at the main entrance to leave my IC and get a pass. Then to ask for instructions how to get to the place of meeting. And so I ended up for the meeting 15 minutes late, which is something that seldom happens to me. Now, if the meeting was the usual meeting I had to attend on the “Men Against Violence” campaign, being 15 minutes late means you’re not late. However, today’s meeting was at a Navy base, so meeting started 9 am sharp!
Anyway, on my way back after the meeting, a call came in from a lady, a JKM staff. Apparently a few days ago she did call, but her 2 calls (one after another) came in while I was performing my solat asar, and since the number wasn’t a familiar number, I didn’t return call.
This time she called while I was driving, but since I was on handsfree, I answered the call. Besides I was no longer in a hurry, so I could take my own sweet time driving. The lady wanted to discuss with me about Ramli. Remember Ramli? The guy who had 4 wives when he was healthy, and now that he is bedridden, all 4 wives left him. One died (the one his daughter, Amy, suspected he got the virus from), while the other 3 simply left him. I can understand wife #4 who had no kids, but wife #2 not only left him, she left 3 of her 4 kids as well! She only took the eldest one with her.
Now that Ramli is not even capable of taking care of himself, his 3 younger sons are without proper parents care. Lucky for them, Amy, their half sister from wife #1, took over the responsibility of becoming their guardian. That includes supporting them financially. She herself is not working, dependent on her husband, but now that they have a baby of their own, surely it is not easy for them, financially, physically and emotionally. The financial problem is easier to solve. Other than our help for the children’s educational needs, the welfare department is also giving them some assistance.
The problem now is, Amy is already feeling all stressed out. Her father now needs 24 hour care. He is totally dependent on others. The burden is getting too much for her. Right now her husband may not complain, but what if later he gets fed up. Besides, Amy has got a young 3 month old baby of her own who needs her attention. Amy has no problem taking care of her 3 younger half-brothers. She has never complained about taking care of them.
Taking care of Ramli is not an easy task. He needs help to be bathed, to change his diapers, to eat, in fact almost everything! With this HIV status, Amy couldn’t even pay people to do the job even if she could afford it. Amy was asking the JKM if they could arrange for a home for him. The JKM officer handling her case (the one who called me) was sympathetic, but according to her JKM’s homes don’t cater for PLHIVs, especially since Ramli needs someone to care for him all the time. The officer tried liaising with the hospital, but the people at the hospital said they couldn’t cater for him unless someone from the family can stay at the hospital to take care of him. Duh, if a family member can take care of him, might as well stay home, no?
Amy does have an elder brother staying together with the father (at the father’s house), but he works as a security guard. The welfare officer did suggest that maybe he should quit his job for the moment and depend on financial aid, so he could take care of his father. But Amy’s brother has a history of depression, and Amy is afraid that if her brother quits his job, when he’s broke he may get into his depression again. Which will make it even worse for Amy.
The poor girl, only 20 and already having to shoulder too many responsibilities.
So yeah, with Amy almost giving up, who’s going to take care of Ramli now?