After being earlier notified by a staff of Malaysian Aids Foundation (MAF) that there'd be a meeting held at Pertubuhan Komuniti Intan (PKI), Teluk Intan on Saturday, 27th November; I made plans to bring along my mother with me as my sister’s clinic and house happens to be in the same town. And since both Cek Mek and Baby So’od also stay in a home in the same town, I figured I might as well visit them too.
So on Saturday morning, after my usual pasar tani, off we (my mother and I) headed to Teluk Intan. Earlier on Friday, I had already loaded 2 boxes of used clothes into my car. The used clothes had been collected earlier, given by various people. I had of course, chosen only the good ones. I don’t know how some people could even think of giving torn clothes… white-turned-yellow shirts… crumpled clothes… to be given to others. The recipients may be poor, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any dignity! So no people, before anybody else asks me if I’d accept any more used clothes, the answer is no! I have better things to do than to help throw away the “not fit to be worn” ones.
Anyway, 2 boxes of clothes chosen were mainly adults clothing. I intended to send them to the home where Cek Mek and So’od are staying. You see, the home run by Kak Ana not only caters for children, but also for adults, men and women. I also brought along a small box of babies’ needs, posted to me by a blog reader, for So’od’s use. Other than that, I needed to get a copy of So’od’s birth certificate, to be submitted together with the PAF application for Liza, together with a few other applications to the MAF officer coming for the meeting in Teluk Intan.
Immediately after sending my mother to my sister’s clinic, I went straight to Kak Ana’s place. Kak Ana had earlier told me that she’d be heading to Ipoh, but when I got to her place, she was still home. Apparently, the girl whom Kak Ana was supposed to bring to Ipoh, was unwell, so they cancelled the plan.
We had a chat… Kak Ana, Liza and myself. Basically it was about whether or not Liza should go back to her husband. I told Liza that at the end of the day, it would have to be her own decision, but she should consider all the advice given, by me, by Kak Ana, by her aunts, by her sisters. Frankly, after what she had gone through before when she was still staying with her husband, I’m not too keen on the idea of them getting back together again. I don’t know what her husband had sweet-talked her into, but Liza really looked like she was seriously considering the matter. Hopefully she will use her head when making the decision, not just her heart.
Both Cek Mek and So’od were asleep when I was there, so no, I didn’t want to disturb them.
After lunch at my sister’s house, off I went to PKI for the meeting with the MAF people. They were there to explain to us on the various financial schemes available for the PLHIV families – the Paediatric Aids Fund (PAF), Keep In School Scheme (KISS) and the Medical Assistance Scheme. The meeting didn’t really take that long. The MAF people had also wanted to do home visit assessments to the homes of 3 PAF recipients/applicants. There was one HIV positive child in each home. 2 of them were clients of PKI, while the other one was my client, ie Farah, daughter of Nuri.
Since the MAF people (3 of them) weren’t too sure of the way, they sought our help to show them the way. Hajah Suraban of PKI was initially supposed to bring them meet 2 of her clients only. Nuri stays a bit further away, and so Hajah Suraban was afraid if she joined all the way to Nuri’s place, she’d have to drive back home rather late. She had initially thought I’d be heading straight back to Ipoh after the visits, while the MAF trio, who’d finish their job after the 3rd house, would be heading elsewhere.
After finding out that I’d be coming back to my sister’s house in Teluk Intan after the visits, Hajah Suraban agreed to come along in my car to visit all 3 homes.
So we went in 2 cars, Hajah Suraban in my car while the MAF trio in another car. First stop was the home of a 9 year HIV+ girl whose parents have both died. Her mother died just a few months ago and she’s now being taken care by her aunt. The girl knows she has HIV, but she’s too young to know what HIV is all about. And so she told her schoolmates that she is now taking medication for HIV. Oh dear! So yep, while an HIV+ child must one day know about his/her HIV status, we must really choose a suitable time to be telling them about it. At least we must make sure they know what HIV is all about.
Next stop, another client of PKI, another HIV+ girl. Since the mother makes a living by opening a food stall, and the MAF trio were hungry (they reached Teluk Intan rather late as they had to attend another function in KL the night before, and so they got up late and didn’t have breakfast & lunch), we decided to stop by her stall first to let the hungry trio fill their tummies first.
Not wanting to make the lady uncomfortable, we just went to the stall as customers (with 3 very hungry ones!). Hajah Suraban and I just ordered drinks while the three hungry youngsters from MAF had their breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner at 5 pm! Yes, I said youngsters. One of them even said, “Rasa macam keluar makan dengan mak-mak pulak.” (aku lesing kang baru tau!)
After that, we went to the lady’s home, to get more details for the MAF trio to write in the home visit assessment report. It rained while we were there, but since it was getting late, and there was another house we needed to visit, we didn’t wait for the rain to stop. The next house was also in a kampong, and it wouldn’t look too good if suddenly they had visitors so late in the evening, especially nearing Maghrib. So yeah, while I had an umbrella, it was in the car! No choice but to get a bit wet… how wet would depend on how fast I could run to the car.
Next stop, Nuri’s house. Although she’s my client, I’ve never been to her house before. I’ve been to the town where she stays, but at that time, she wasn’t willing to let us visit her at home, afraid that kaypoh neighbours may be asking all sorts of questions. So, while I had no problem showing the way to the town, I wasn’t sure how to get to Nuri’s house. When we reached the town, I called Nuri, telling her exactly where I was, and asking for directions to get to her house. She said I wasn’t far off, but I should turn back and she’d wait by the roadside.
It was almost 6 pm by the time we reached Nuri’s house. The moment we got in, I sought her permission to perform my asar prayer at her house. I knew it would be too late by the time I’d get back to my sister’s house.
Nuri’s daughter, Farah, is such a small girl although she’ll be in form one next year. I got to meet Nuri’s other daughter when I performed the solat asar in her room. She didn’t get out of the room to meet the other visitors even when we were leaving at about 6.30 pm.
Anyway, after the visit to Nuri’s home, we went separate ways. Hajah Suraban and I headed back to Teluk Intan while the MAF trio headed the other way. Their jobs were done and since they were already in Perak and the next day was a Sunday, they figured they might as well make full use of their trip to Perak.
We finally reached Teluk Intan after 7 pm. It was already dark by the time I managed to send Hajah Suraban back to her house. I understood why she wasn’t willing to drive home late. When I sent her home, she showed me the way, and when she finally showed me where to stop, the moment I stopped in front of her house, she said, “Eh, rumah siapa pulak ni?” Hehehe… we missed her house by 2 doors… she showed me the wrong house!
Today being Sunday, and my sister having 2 boxes of milk powder (free samples given to her clinic), we decided to visit Kak Ana’s home. Yep, my 2nd visit in 2 days but first visit for my sisters. Now that they know the place, if they want to send anything there, they can go on their own.
This time both Cek Mek and So’od were wide awake. In fact, Liza’s aunt was also there to visit her. I took the opportunity to talk to the aunt while Kak Ana entertained my sisters in her office. So’od, now almost 3 weeks old, looked fine and healthy. No problem for me to carry him in my arms as he’s too young to recognise people to be choosy as to who he’d allow to carry him. As for Cek Mek, I’m no longer a familiar face to her, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t want me to carry her. But when I asked her if I could borrow a ball she was holding in her hand, she gladly gave the ball to me. And when I carried her in my arms, she didn’t struggle. Even Liza said that Cek Mek is such a good girl. Very unlike Liza’s 2 year old son who now stays with her at the home, who throws a tantrum every time he doesn’t get what he wants.
After we left the place, I purposely sent a text message to Sharifah (Cek Mek’s mother) telling her that I just visited her little girl. I was told by Kak Ana that it had been quite some time since she last visited her daughter. I know Sharifah loves her daughter, but when she gets too comfortable not having to take care of her daughter, sometimes she may forget that she should be visiting the girl more often. By telling her that I had just visited her daughter, she’d be reminded that she should visit soon.
Well, she’d better visit soon, before Cek Mek becomes uncomfortable with her…