Remember Zali? The guy who was (still is) on methadone treatment and whose wife left him and their 2 little girls? I first wrote about him here; and then there were a few follow-up stories here, here, here, here and here.
Initially I believed all that he said about his wife. While I understood why his wife left him, I couldn’t for the life of me understand how the wife could have the heart to leave the girls just like that. I mean, even if she could no longer stand their marriage, the least she could have done was to take the girls with her. Surely they’d be better off with her. After all she has a secure job with a goverment department while Zali himself was (and still is) not working and dependent on methadone.
The last time either the doctor and SN asked if I could do anything about Zali’s case was in April this year. The doc was quite concerned because Zali had not been compliant in taking his ARV and his condition had worsened. But since I never got the opportunity to speak to his wife, I couldn’t really find his wife’s version of the story. All the while Zali made it sound as though his wife was the one who didn’t care about the kids, but when asked for the wife’s number so I could speak to her, he always came up with all sorts of excuses not to give me the number.
I did wonder what had happened to Zali and especially his children. My main concern was of course the 2 girls. Although I had his house address, I couldn’t simply visit them at home without permission. I don’t have the authority to check on them.
So when we had the appointment with the state Welfare director and a few of her officers last Wednesday, I took the opportunity to highlight his case to them. They immediately agreed that they needed to interfere if indeed the 2 girls are not being well taken care of. At least they have the authority to check on the family.
Yesterday I was at the welfare department again, for a meeting. The moment I walked in, the lady officer in charge of such cases told me that they had gone to visit, but it seemed the house was in orderly manner. Zali wasn’t home but his 2 girls were there with 2 maternal cousins of theirs. The officers did speak to the children and were told that their mother was staying with them (but she was at work). Children don’t usually lie, and especially in this case when they weren’t even expecting any welfare officers to come and visit, surely nobody could have taught them what to say, right?
However, the officers did get the mother’s phone number from the girls, although their first attempt to call their mother was not answered. They then called Zali, and Zali did answer the phone. He did admit to them that at one time he was a very irresponsible person but he claimed that he has now changed for the better.
The lady officer told me they’d still be monitoring the case. She wants to speak to the mother first to get her version of the story.
If indeed the wife is staying back with them, good for the children. My guess is earlier on it wasn’t that the wife didn’t want to take the kids with her. It was Zali who refused to let them go. He did mention to me once that he was still trying to coax his wife to return to him. After all, the wife had always been the breadwinner and Zali was the one who’s with the kids most of the time, so the children had grown attached to him, even sometimes tagging along with him to the methadone clinic.
The only thing I’d like to know now is, is the wife really able to accept Zali back into her life? Or is she only doing this for the sake of the children?
Whatever it is, I am glad I highlighted the case to the welfare officers. At least I know they are monitoring the children’s well being.