THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Meeting & Jalan-jalan Home Visits

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.

IMAG0117 The hungry faces…

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…

Friday, 26 November 2010

A third chance?

When Liza first sought my help to get her a shelter home for her and her young kids, and I told her that it would be easier to get a home for HIV+ ladies in KL, Liza clearly mentioned that she’d prefer to stay in KL and away from Perak. She said she’d feel stressed if she continued staying in Perak since there are so many kaypoh relatives of hers here in Perak.

So I arranged a place for her in Rumah Solehah. But the day she was discharged from the hospital after giving birth to So’od, she was still too weak to travel all the way to KL. So after discussing with her, and after getting permission from Kak Ana who runs the home where I had earlier sent my little Cek Mek last year, I sent Liza and So’od straight to Kak Ana’s place first. The plan was to send Liza and her kids to KL maybe a week later, after she’s a bit better.

However, the next time I called to find out when she’d be ready to be sent to KL (I needed ample notice to make all the necessary arrangements), Liza had changed her mind. After Kak Ana offered to let Liza stay at the home longer, and after Liza discussed the matter with her sister, Liza decided to stay on at Kak Ana’s place until after her confinement. So I cancelled the place at Rumah Solehah for her.

Tomorrow I will be heading her way as I need to attend a meeting in the same town with a few people from the Malaysian Aids Foundation who’d coming over to Pertubuhan Komuniti Intan, another NGO dealing with HIV/AIDS. So I shall take the opportunity to go over to Kak Ana’s place to get some documents from Liza and also to hand over some other stuff to Liza. I had earlier on kept the stuff with me because according to the earlier plan, I’d be fetching Liza later to send her over to KL.

I had already informed Liza that I’d be coming this Saturday. But this morning I decided to call Kak Ana, just in case Liza had not told her that I’d be coming tomorrow. True enough, when I called Kak Ana this morning, she wasn’t aware that I would be coming. Kak Ana would be coming to Ipoh tomorrow while I’m heading to her place. But anyway, she said she’d get the photocopies of the documents ready for me.

Anyway, remember in my previous posting I mentioned about Liza’s last text message saying that she felt guilty when she found out that her husband too had been infected? Well, today Kak Ana told me that she heard Liza may want to reconcile with her husband.

Hmmm… again? You see, Liza had earlier filed her divorce papers when she was staying in KL before she got pregnant with her 2nd child. But her hubby managed to coax her, telling her he promised he’d change. So Liza retracted her divorce papers and gave him a second chance. She got back together with her husband, and in the process, got pregnant as well. But her husband did not change. He remained his old lazy, hot-tempered self. Liza gave up and left him again, bringing along her son. She was pregnant then and so did not file for divorce. She was adamant that she’d make the necessary arrangements to file for divorce after her confinement when she intends to move back to KL.

I believe what Kak Ana heard (that Liza wanted to reconcile with her husband) was true. Liza herself, in her text message to me, although she did not mention anything about getting back together with her husband, said that she managed to call her husband, who told her that he too had been infected, making Liza feel guilty, because it was Liza that he got it from.

Hmmm… has he really changed and want to take over responsibility as a husband and a father? Or was he purposely making Liza feel guilty so that she’d go back to him? And after being so sure about ending the marriage before this, does Liza really want to get back together with her husband? Mind you, this will not be a second chance she’s giving him, but a third chance!

I don’t know her husband personally, in fact I have never met him before, so I don’t really know what kind of a person he is. It’s Liza’s life, so she’s got to decide for herself. But I do hope she’d consider all things before coming up with a decision. Hopefully her decision will not be based solely on her feeling of guilt for passing the virus to her husband. As I mentioned before, her husband knew she had HIV, and he knew the risk. It wasn’t Liza’s fault alone that they weren’t practising safe sex.

Will they or will they not get back together? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

3 different ladies, 3 different stories

I was on clinic duty again today. This time in Ipoh. And this time alhamdulillah I managed to get a parking space without having to go 3 or 4 rounds around the hospital.

After notifying the nurse that I was already there, and was told that there was supposed to be one new case, I headed straight to the counselling room. The room is shared between 3 different groups – us Buddies as support group, the pharmacists giving counselling to HIV patients and pharmacists giving counselling to patients with heart/hypertension/diabetic problems. I’m not quite sure what kind of work was being done on the rooftop, but there were sounds of drilling and knocking right above our heads. The pharmacists had to speak louder to the patients and so the room today was rather noisy.

Well, I ended up not seeing any new PLHIVs today. The supposedly new case wasn’t really a new case but one that was just transferred to Ipoh from elsewhere.

But I did meet 3 of my old clients today as they were there for their appointments. The good thing about sharing a room with the pharmacists giving counselling is that all the PLHIVs would have to go to the counselling room to see the pharmacists, and so I’d know if any of my clients were there.

Lady #1:

The first familiar face I saw was Nuri’s. Somehow she looked even skinnier than the last time I saw her. I took the opportunity to have a chat with her while she was waiting for her turn to talk to the pharmacists.

Nuri had always been the quiet type and never wanting to join our activities. I had wanted her to get to know the other PLHIVs but she never seemed interested. So after helping to arrange for some financial help for her initially, our contacts after that were more of phone calls once in a while… and if I so happen to be on duty on her appointment day, then maybe we’d bump into each other.

Nuri has a child who’s HIV positive. Nuri herself knew about her HIV after her husband died and so no, precautions were not taken when she was carrying her youngest child. So now, both of them need to come for Ipoh for their appointments – Nuri at the ID clinic and daughter Farah at the paed’s clinic. It has been a long while since I last saw Farah. She was just a small girl then… so I was rather shocked today when Nuri told me that Farah will be in form one next year! My, how time flies!

Nuri makes a living by opening a food stall outside a school near her place. Business is okay during school days, but no school means no business. So during the school holidays, there’s no business. For the moment, since SPM is still going on, she still opens her stall, but once SPM ends, there’ll be no business for her until school reopens. I asked her if she can afford to buy her children’s  stuff using her savings first. “Entahlah kak,” came the answer. Well, if she can’t, then I’d need to bring them shopping. We agreed that maybe we should meet at a nearby town, and then I’d take them shopping before sending them home.

Lady #2:

The next familiar face that I saw today? Anyone remembers Yah… the lady who had “starred” in many of my blog postings before this, particularly in 2007/2008? Yep, it was her. For those who may have just started reading this blog recently, when I first met Yah, her husband was still alive. She found out about her HIV infection when she was pregnant. Her late husband, Azman, had some mental problems as well and so it wasn’t easy for Yah. But I must say she was quite a tough lady – strong and determined. Then after Azman died, Yah had problems with her in-laws who behaved like out-laws, trying to take control not only of her late husband’s house (and whatever properties inside the house) but also her children! Yah ended up having to “run away” from the house at her husband’s kampong, back to the home of her own parents up north of Perak.

Yah then started to change after she met Mr Darling (for the history of how the nickname Mr Darling came about, please click here). After spending a night at the home of Mr D’s mother, Yah somehow turned “angau” and fell head over heels over Mr D. As a matter of fact, it came to a point where she somewhat started “stalking” Mr D (although I must say, serves him right!). Well, you’ve got to read back all the old postings (esp 2007 postings) to find out whatever happened but suffice to say, Mr D (who is the ex-husband of another client of mine, Lin) is now married to somebody else and as far as I know, they are no longer in touch with each other (otherwise you’d probably be reading another “drama swasta” posting from me… about Mr D’s wife having a wrestling match with Yah!). For a number of years even her 2 older daughters stayed at an orphanage, at their own request.

Well, today when I met Yah, she was wearing her tudung (otherwise before this sometimes she’d wear the tudung, sometimes tudung melayang… and during one Family Day, she hurriedly took out a scarf from her bag, wore it, and mentioned to another PLHIV sitting beside her, “Takut nanti K.Afizah marah!” Ada ka patut? Takut kat orang pulak whereas I never said anything to her about her dressing or anything personal…

Yah now has a permanent job at a factory and all her children are staying with her, including the 2 who had earlier requested to stay at an orphanage. To me it’s a good indication – the fact that they themselves wanted to stay with her now may probably mean that Yah has changed. Kak Long, the eldest girl, sat for her UPSR recently and managed to get 2A’s, 2B’s and 1C. Not bad, especially the fact that the subjects which she scored A’s were Maths and Science! Kak Ngah, and Abang Chik, although both are in standard 4 this year, are in different classes. Angah in a normal class while Abang Chik has to join a class for special children. (btw, they aren’t twins but born in the same year, one in March while the other in December.) Abang Chik, who had earlier joined the normal classes (for he looked nromal), finally was sent to the special class for special children. He was somewhat rather hyper and wouldn’t listen to anyone at all, giving problems to his teachers. I’m not sure what exactly Abang Chik is suffering from, but Yah just said that “Abang Chik kena masuk kelas OKU.”  I suspect ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Well, Angah had always been doing well in school, got second in her recent exams, while Abang Chik, who was always at the bottom of his class previously, managed to get second in his special class. Yah’s youngest, Aini, who was just a baby when I used to visit them, will already be 5 next year! Yah’s late mother used to tell Aini to call me “mama” everytime I went to visit… simply because I regularly became the “milk supplier” for her. (aiyo, not my own milk la… ini kes lembu punya susu, si Pi dapat nama…) Well, I bet Aini doesn’t remember me at all now, for she was hardly 2 years old the last time I saw her.

Whatever it is, since all her children are back with her, I will arrange for CEF for her children’s back-to-school expenses. No doubt Yah is already working now, but she just started work recently, and she doesn’t earn much either. I may not agree with some of the things that Yah did, but her children must not be deprived of basic education at least.

Lady #3:

Right after Yah left the room, another lady came straight towards me and smiled. As I responded to her salam, I guess it looked obvious to her that I was trying to recall who she was. “Sayalah kak, *Ani!” (*bukan nama sebenar, of course) Ah, of course, Ani! It had been a long while since I last met her. In fact I had lost touch with her after my calls didn’t get through and after she defaulted her hospital appointments. After that I found out she had moved to her home state to stay with her mother (she was earlier staying at her husband’s kampong in Perak). Ani and her husband moved to her own mother’s kampong after her mother somehow suspected that her daughter may have been infected with HIV, and asked her directly to be honest with her. But Ani’s mother is very understanding, she did a lot of reading herself (she’s 65) to find out more about HIV/AIDS.

So why did she suspect that Ani was infected? You see, Ani’s present husband is her second husband. Her first husband died, and based on his background (IVDU) and the circumstances in which he died, Ani’s mother somehow suspected that he could have been HIV positive. Well, Ani herself only knew about her HIV status after she remarried, when she got pregnant. Now even her present husband is infected, but he is understanding enough and doesn’t blame her for it. But he told Ani not to tell his mother about it as his side of the family is not the open-minded type. Now that they stay with her mother who knows about their HIV status, at least Ani doesn’t feel so stressful anymore. That’s a load of burden off her shoulders.

But Ani & husband still comes to Ipoh for their appointments as the hospitals nearer to their place don’t have ID specialists. So now when the time comes for their appointment, they’d take the opportunity to balik kampong to her husband’s side of the family.

Well, those were the 3 ladies I met today. The ladies whom I had blogged about during my earlier blogging days. It was good to have met them again. They may not be doing too well financially, but at least they are a lot better than when their cases were initially referred to me. At least I can see that they are now heading towards the right direction, especially Yah whom I had almost given up on once…

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Marrying her late hubby’s brother…

Today being the 4th Tuesday of the month, it was time for me to head to Taiping Hospital again for clinic duty. With the other volunteer joining me for today’s support service works a doctor at Taiping Hospital, I drove alone from Ipoh.

Usually I’d drive non-stop from Ipoh to Taiping, but today somehow it was rather cold (it was rather foggy at certain stretches at the expressway) and so I had to make a pit-stop… errm… I mean pee-stop at Bukit Gantang… :) And when I reached Taiping Hospital today, I didn’t even bother to drive inside the hospital compounds to get a parking space; I headed directly to the metered parking spots right outside the hospital fences.

I headed direct to the doctor’s room to notify the nurse that I was already there, then to the nearby praying room which had been used as our counselling room ever since we started our support service in Taiping. However, there were no cases referred in the morning… thank God I brought along my netbook and wireless broadband modem. I also used the time to update the sponsorship account.

Meanwhile I had made arrangements with 2 earlier clients to meet me at the hospital. One of them was Jay, whom I met during last month’s clinic duty. I had promised her I’d help her apply for PAF, but I needed all the necessary supporting documents from her including her children’s birth certs. So yep, today she gave me all the necessary documents.

Then there was Maya, whose case I highlighted earlier in September. Well, her children are all covered under our sponsorship programme, and since the sponsors are entitled to see a picture of their sponsored child, I requested Maya to send photos of her children. So today she came to give me the photos.

We then discussed about taking her children to shop for their schooling needs for next year. My colleague who works at Taiping Hospital would be the better person to take them shopping, so I told Maya to keep in touch with my colleague.

After a while Maya said, “Kak, mak mertua saya nak saya kawin dengan adik arwah suami saya dulu kak. Macam mana?”

Me: “Dia tau tak awak ada HIV?”

Maya: “Memang keluarga semua tau.”

Me: “Ye jugak. Dia pun tau awak dapat HIV dari anak dia kan? Adik arwah tu tau tak?”

Maya: “Tau.”

Me: “Dia faham tak kesan dan akibatnya?”

Maya: “Tau. Memang selama ni pun dia yang tolong kerjakan sawah tu semenjak arwah takde.”

Me: “Kalau dia tau dan dia masih sanggup, terpulanglah pada dia. Tapi saya mintak cubalah elakkan dari berjangkit pulak HIV ke dia. Dah ada orang terangkan ke pasal pakai kondom?”

Maya: “Ya kak. Tapi kalau saya kawin, bantuan tu masih dapat ke? Dia pun bukan kerja apa sangat.”

Laaa… takut kena stop bantuan rupanya

Well, we had already wanted to arrange for financial help for the children’s education even when Roslan, Maya’s late husband, was still alive. Right now the brother is doing the same type of job Roslan used to do. So no, they don’t earn much. Getting married is not a reason for us not to help with the children’s education.

Well, they are not married yet as Maya’s iddah is not over. Maya’s mother-in-law is arranging for them to get married after Maya’s iddah is over. Since Maya had always been dependent on her husband, I guess she needs a man in her life. I am at least happy to note that Maya’s in-laws still care about her and the children.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Children’s Education

31 children from 12 families – that’s the number of children covered under our Education Sponsorship for Children programme for next year. With the exception of 1 family where the children still have a father, and 1 child who has lost both her parents, the rest are all children of single mothers. The 31 children are sponsored by 24 different individuals/groups of individuals. Which means a few sponsors are actually sponsoring more than 1 child.

When we first started this programme in 2008, we started off with 9 children being sponsored. Then in 2009 the number increased to 16, and this year the number rose to 21. With an additional 10 children needing sponsorship for next year, we have 31 for 2011, that is, if we don’t get any new clients needing sponsorship within the year. Thank goodness the response to my call for sponsors was superb… mainly either my alumni members or my blog readers or my facebook friends (some of them a combination of all 3).

Then there are those who are not under our sponsorship programme but are getting help from our Children Education Fund (CEF). Huh? What’s the difference between the Education Sponsorship for Children (ESC) programme and the CEF? Both are meant for children’s education, right?

Right. But the difference is, the ESC is meant for children from poorer families. Each individual child is personally sponsored by individuals from the public. The sponsorship covers anything to do with the children’s education including monthly pocket money, bus fares, tuition fees etc in addition to the usual back-to-school expenses.

The CEF on the other hand, is a special fund that we have, meant more for those who can afford the monthly expenses but face difficulties at the beginning of each schooling year when they need to come up with hundreds of Ringgits for the back-to-school expenses including uniforms, bags, stationeries, workbooks and the various fees they need to pay when school reopens.

We have at least 15 children who qualifies for the CEF.

Which means by next month we’ve got to buy school necessities for at least 46 children. For a few of them, the parents can at least buy first with whatever savings/borrowings they have, to be reimbursed later when they submit to us the receipts. But some of the guardians can’t afford to do that. If we ask them to buy first, chances are they won’t be buying anything. So yep, for these ones, we’d take the children out to shop for their schooling needs.

Since most of the children under sponsorship are those of my clients (not because I practice favouritism but because I always get assigned to the poor families… sigh!), I will be bringing 19 children out shopping.

So will I bring them shopping all on the same day to save time?

HECK NO! Even if they can come on their own to the hypermarket where I intend to take them, no way am I going to have 19 children choosing their uniforms, shoes, etc all at the same time! Maybe it’s not so bad for the older children, but for the younger ones? Eeeks!

I will bring them out, one family at a time. It will give me more space to use a more personal approach to each family and it will give me the opportunity to get to know each child better. After all, I will need to give individual reports to each individual sponsor, as such it’s best if I know each child personally, rather than just knowing the parents/guardians.

The hypermarket people will be seeing my face quite often next month… oh yeah… :-)

Friday, 19 November 2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Baby So’od – Staying Put

When I first met Liza and she sought my help in getting her a temporary shelter home until she is fit enough to work, she specifically mentioned that she’d prefer a home in KL instead of in Perak as she has relatives in Perak. She didn’t want them to know about her HIV status.

Getting a home in KL for HIV+ women is much easier than getting one in Perak, so there was no problem for me in getting her a place. So yep, made a few calls here and there, and managed to get her a place at the same home that I had sent Zana a few years ago.

However, in Zana’s case, I sent her to KL before she delivered as she had already been told to leave the home she was staying in then (she said it was her foster mother’s home) within a day or two because of her unwed pregnancy.

In Liza’s case, she was married, it’s just that she has been separated from her husband and so was staying with her aunt. Only problem was, her aunt didn’t know anything about her HIV and in addition to that had been babbling that Liza by right should be staying with her mother.

Well anyway, after delivery, Liza was discharged quite early from the hospital. The baby was fine, but Liza was still not fit enough to travel. She had already told the aunt she was staying with, that she’d be moving to KL immediately after delivery, so going back to her aunt’s place was out of the question. Her sister who stays nearby, was staying with her mother-in-law, so it was difficult for her to bring Liza to stay with her. Liza’s mother? Well, she called and gave me all sorts of excuses why she couldn’t take care of Liza herself. As a matter of fact, Liza herself was not too keen with the idea of staying with her mother down south, at her eldest brother’s home.

So, where was I to send Liza after being discharged from the hospital? I couldn’t send her direct to the KL home for 2 reasons… 1. She wasn’t fit to travel yet (in fact she couldn’t stand for too long, she’d get dizzy)   2. She was discharged in the afternoon, and by the time I managed to settle all the necessary (payment, medication etc), it was already 4 pm. Too late for me to send her to KL.

I was earlier thinking that her sister could at least offer to take care of Liza for just one or two nights before I make the necessary arrangements to send her to KL. But nope, her sister didn’t even come to help when Liza was discharged. My next option was to send Liza to Kak Ana’s place, the same home that I sent my little Cek Mek last year. Liza agreed that maybe I should send her to KL after Raya Haji.

Well, after I sent Liza to Kak Ana, first her mother called me… then her aunt (another aunt) called me. I was thinking… Liza has so many family members who’re so kaypoh trying to find out this and that from me, but none of them offered to take care of Liza and So’od! And we’re not even talking about unwed pregnancies here! But maybe, it all started with Liza’s first pregnancy 2 years ago… she was unwed then, and that was when she found out she had HIV. Later after she got married, her husband was tested for HIV, but the results came out negative. Only problem was, her husband was a lazy bum who didn’t want to work. It had been Liza all the while supporting the family.

On Tuesday (before Raya Haji) I called Liza to ask if she was feeling better and to find out when she’d be ready to go to the KL home. She said she was feeling better and that she’d have to discuss with her family first before making any decision.

Last night I got a text message from Liza. Kak Ana suggested to her that she should stay longer at the present home instead of going to KL, and Liza’s sister too had the same thought. Easier for her sister to go visit, she said. Liza was thinking that she should be staying at Kak Ana’s place until after her confinement period; and so she sought my opinion (but the way she said it, it sounded more like she was seeking my approval, not my opinion).

I told Liza that she should make her own decision. It wasn’t my idea to send her to KL in the first place, it was she herself who said she’d prefer a place in KL. I then told her that if she had really made the decision, then I’d be informing the matron at the KL shelter home that Liza & baby So’od won’t be going to KL after all. I didn’t want to be cancelling the place and then later having to call the matron again to ask for a place for Liza.

So yep, since she had made her decision, I’m cancelling the place in KL for her. If suddenly she asks to be sent to KL again, I won’t be entertaining her request.

At the end of her text message, Liza said she found out that her husband had been confirmed HIV+ and she felt guilty about it. Well, her husband already knew she was positive and they still had unprotected sex. He had already known the risks and so Liza wasn’t the only one to be blamed here.

I intend to visit Liza and So’od by the end of next week, to pass her some things including the referral letters for baby So’od’s and her own follow up hospital appointments. Which reminds me, I’d better ask her if she wants to continue her appointments in Ipoh or at the hospital near the home she’s staying now. Her referral letter is for KL hospital. If she decides to continue with her appointments in Ipoh, then she’d better get an appointment date from the nurse here. Right now, as far as the nurse is concerned, Liza is no longer going to Ipoh GH. As far as I am concerned, she’d better make an appointment soon. If it was up to her, she may end up only arranging for So’od’s follow up but not her own. That was what happened after she gave birth to her first child.

Whatever it is, looks like baby So’od will stay put at the present home at least until the end of Liza’s confinement, together with my other ‘cucu’ – Cek Mek…

 

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The wicked witch?

It’s mid November. School holidays start this week. Soon I will need to start taking some of “my children” out shopping for next year’s schooling needs.

Which means I will also need to get hold of all the clients whose children are under our sponsorship programme. I need to get the yearly reports done to be sent out to the respective sponsors, and to ask for next year’s sponsorship money.

Rosnah, without even me asking, SMSed me to inform me that her daughter obtained 3A’s 2B’s for her UPSR. After getting that SMS, I remembered Sofie and Fuzi too had children sitting for UPSR this year. So I sent them both text messages to ask for their results.

Sofie replied later at night. Her son, Saiful (the one with those very thick glasses), got a mixture of ABCD’s in his UPSR. Fuzi has yet to reply my SMS. I wonder how her son fared. The boy, Faiz, had always been giving his mother problems… always befriending the wrong group of friends, and always landing in trouble. However, the last time I went to visit, Fuzi told me that Faiz had been a lot more tolerable of late. He has stopped befriending the group of friends that had always landed him in trouble. Fuzi at one time had almost given up on him and she finally threatened him, “Nanti mama suruh makcik Afizah hantar kamu pergi rumah anak yatim!”

Which reminds me, Sofie too, sometimes when she got fed up with her children’s stubbornness, she’d say, “Nanti mama bagitau makcik Afizah baru engkorang tau!”

In fact Sofie herself, who now stays together with her sister who moved from up north to stay with her and the children, would sometimes get the same “threat” from her sister. Being still rather weak to do heavy work, sometimes when she feels just slightly better, Sofie would try to do more work to earn more income for the family. Her sister would always advise her not to exert herself, and when she finds Sofie being stubborn, she’d say, “Nanti akak bagitau Kak Afizah!”

Not forgetting Mrs K, who despite always trying to borrow from me (without success), whenever she has some other problem and was told to talk to me about it, would respond with, “Tak beranilah. Kak Afizah tu garang.”

(Funny thing is, after that they would all tell me about it… that’s how I got to know!)

And there’s Shila, who, whenever she sends me a text message to tell me that she had to cancel joining us for any of our activities, and I was too busy to reply immediately, would come up with a follow up message, “Akak marah ke?”

Hmmm…. how come I sound like a wicked witch? Ooh… I am one?

witch

*Pic taken from photobucket.com

Friday, 12 November 2010

Baby So’od…

When the matron from the shelter home in KL expressed her concern that there may not be anyone to pay full attention to the baby if I send Liza and baby So’od to KL, Liza told me that she could take care of the baby herself. Liza seemed matured enough, so I figured there shouldn’t be a problem.

However, after delivering baby So’od on Tuesday, the little boy was well and fine but it seemed like Liza was the one who had problems. Low HB, then feeling dizzy every time she got up. Lucky for her, the nurses helped out to take care of little So’od at the hospital.

The doctors however said there was nothing wrong with Liza and discharged her from the hospital today. She definitely wasn’t ready to travel all the way to KL and I wasn’t ready to send her either. If I were to send her to KL, I’d need to make a move in the morning to make it a day trip. This weekend I have weddings to attend. So initially I thought Monday would be a good day and the matron from the KL shelter home had no problem with that. After discussing with Liza and her sister whom I got to meet on Wednesday when I went to visit Liza at the maternity ward, we agreed that Liza and So’od be sent to Kak Ana’s shelter home first (the home is meant more for disabled children… but Kak Ana had been very nice to me by offering her place if any of the cases I handled needed temporary shelter. This was the same place I sent my little Cek Mek.) and then when it is more convenient for me, I’d send them to KL.

This morning when Liza confirmed that she would be discharged, I told her I’d fetch her after zohor. I figured the timing would be just nice for me to send them to Kak Ana’s place about 1 1/4 hours drive away. So immediately after zohor I rushed to the hospital. When I asked Liza if she was ready to leave, she said she had not received any documents whatsoever after the doctor told her that she'd be discharged. Aduh, I thought maybe her sister would come to settle whatever necessary… but turned out she didn’t even come.

I went to the counter to ask, and was told that all the documents were ready, they were just waiting for someone to settle the bill and get the medication from the pharmacy. Well, looked like Opah Pi had to be the one helping to settle whatever necessary. I told Liza to get changed while I settle matters.

Settling the bill was not a problem at all… it was done within just a minute after I reached the payment counter. Next, to get their medication from the pharmacy. That was where I got to wait for quite some time. There were so many people, and when I got my number, it was 24 numbers away to my turn…

Got the medications, went back to the maternity ward to get Liza and baby So’od. Liza had changed but had lied back on the bed again. She couldn’t stand for too long, she’d get dizzy. So’od was not a problem at all… he was such a good boy. I helped to pack their stuff, took a wheelchair for Liza, and as I carried So’od from the bed onto Liza’s lap, he opened his eyes wide and looked around.

We then got stuck with all the procedures at the counter before I could wheel Liza out of the ward. Then, another round at the guard downstairs before leaving the building. I guess they needed to take extra precautions to avoid babies being kidnapped out of the ward by the wrong people.

Liza still being weak and unable to stand up for too long, I had to help carry little So’od every time Liza needed to get up. So’od really opened his eyes wide when we were about to leave the building, even the lady guard at the door commented that So’od was so cute.

Liza then got in to the back seat of my car where she could lie down. I then placed So’od beside her. Throughout the journey to Kak Ana’s place she was lying down, except when we reached a small town when she asked if I could stop to buy a drink as she was so thirsty.

It was already 5.30 pm by the time we reached Kak Ana’s place. The moment I brought So’od down from the car, the kids there were shouting, “Eh, eh! Ada baby! Keciknya dia!!”

All the kids were calling So’od baby except one little girl aged 1 year plus who came over to So’od and said, “Kakak…” Hehehe… she is the youngest there now and had been so used to calling every other kid kakak, so she thought So’od was kakak too. In the first place, So’od is not even a girl… but then even we adults wouldn’t be able to tell if a 4 day old baby is fully clothed, right?

And oh, guess who was the little girl who called So’od kakak? Yep, none other than My Little Cek Mek! Oh, she’s a big girl now, I almost didn’t recognise her. Somehow, looking at her now, her face… her short straight hair… reminded me so much of  a little someone many many years ago… ME!!

Anyway, Liza was really knocked out by the time we got to Kak Ana’s place, she vomitted and really needed to lie down. So Kak Ana just led her to one of the girl’s beds. I asked for a place where I could perform solat asar… I knew I wouldn’t have the time to do so by the time I could get back to Ipoh as it was already getting late. After my prayers, I heard little So’od crying. Kak Ana was busy in the kitchen while Liza was still in pain. I then looked for So’od’s milk bottle to feed him. He drank a bit and then I put him back beside his mother on the bed. Then I went over to Kak Ana’s office to discuss some matters quickly.

After a few minutes So’od cried again. When I went to check out, I heard Liza saying, “Lampin dia dah penuh, tolong… saya tak larat sangat ni.” Liza was obviously in pain… she wasn’t fit to travel yet but what choice did I have? It was already 6 pm then, so I gave So’od his dose of medication (to be given every 6 hours); changed his diapers (and cleaning his poo in the process), then carried him away from the bed to give Liza some space to really rest.

Kak Ana then took the baby from me to enable me to go back. It was already after 6 pm, she too was concerned about me getting home after dark. We (Liza, Kak Ana and myself) had already decided that the earliest I’d be sending Liza to KL will be after Raya Haji, to give Liza more time to rest and get better before travelling again.

On the way back to Ipoh, I called the matron from the shelter home to tell her I’d have to postpone sending Liza to her place until after raya. Then I called my mother to inform her that I’d be home late. If I didn’t call her, she’d be worried sick seeing that I wasn’t home by Maghrib.

I reached home safely at 7.30 pm. When I left home after zohor, thinking that all would be ready when I reached the hospital, I thought I’d be able to get back home by 6.30 pm.  But what to do… So’od punya pasal, dah gelap baru balik.

And So’od made me add some new job descriptions to my voluntary work – cleaning his poo and changing his diapers. Even Cek Mek was not that privileged… :)

Looks like I have a week break before sending Liza and baby So’od to KL. Hopefully, by then Liza will recover.

 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A day at the hospital

I was on clinic duty again yesterday. Yep, with the expected parking problems… but yesterday it was somehow worse than usual. After going 4 rounds, I finally managed to park my car by the roadside. Not a proper parking space, but as long as I didn’t block any other vehicles, that space just had to do.

After leaving my stuff at the counselling room, I went over to the doctor’s room to check with the nurse if there were any new cases and to find out if she managed to get the photocopy of Ina(the pregnant orang asli lady)’s bank book. I had 2 weeks ago informed Ina (through her good friend since Ina herself doesn’t own a phone) that to apply for PAF, she’d need to have a bank account either with Maybank or Bank Simpanan Nasional. The friend told me they’d go open up the bank account the next day.

Yesterday when I asked the nurse, she told me that the copy she got was Ina’s account with Amanah Saham Nasional. I took a look at the date the account was opened… indeed it was opened the day after I called the friend. Instead of opening an account with BSN, she opened up an account with ASN. Adoiii…. now I still need her to open another account. Maybe this time I’d better go bring her to the bank myself to make sure she opens up the correct account!

The nurse also told me there were 2 new cases but she couldn’t refer the cases to me yet as one of them was not there yet while the other was supposed to see the doctor first. I took the opportunity to ask for the file of another PLHIV, May, whose name and contact number was earlier SMS-ed to me by the nurse, as the lady needed financial assistance for her child.

I had to wait quite a while before the first case was referred to me. Meanwhile I just chatted with the pharmacists with whom we Buddies had to share a room with since there were no more rooms available for counselling purposes. And since the pharmacists had to speak loud and clear to the patients to make sure they understood the prescriptions, I heard all their conversations without having to eavesdrop! There was one makcik who took her medication as and when she liked and selamba-ly told the pharmacist, “Bila makcik rasa malas, makcik tak makan la.” Luckily the pharmacist wasn’t a garang one… :)

The first case was finally referred to me after 12.30 pm. The patient, Mohan, came with his wife. When I asked if the wife had gone for testing, she said she did her blood test the moment her husband was diagnosed HIV+ (he was earlier warded at a private hospital – that was when he found out about his HIV), but to date she doesn’t know the results. Well, if nobody called her, that only meant her blood test came out negative, otherwise the doctor would have asked her to go for another testing, and their children would have to be tested as well.

Mohan used to be a contract worker. But ever since he fell ill, he hasn’t been able to work. His wife, a full time housewife, used to work only before getting married. So now both of them are without income, and they have 3 children aged 9, 7 and 4 to support. I promised them I’d try to help with their PAF application, and that we should be able to at least help out with their “back-to-school” expenses. They had no problems about having us visit them at home, and since they were quite comfortable speaking in Malay, they didn’t really have a preference as to whom I’d assign as their buddy (Melayu ka… India ka… Cina ka… mana-mana pun boleh…)

I had to wait until after 1 pm for the next case to be referred to me. The guy, an ex-IVDU, was actually diagnosed since 2000 and was already on anti-retroviral earlier, but somehow stopped and was only referred to the ID clinic again recently after he was warded for some ailments including Hep C. When I asked why he didn’t continue with his earlier medication, he said, “Ubat tertinggal atas bas.”

He left his medication on the bus and he stopped going for his appointments altogether. Hmmm… I think I prefer the makcik’s “malas” excuse. :)

Anyway, by the time my clinic duty ended it was almost 1.30 pm. I went straight to the maternity ward to check on Liza and my little So’od. Alhamdulillah, little So’od looked well and fine (and so cute!). He was too comfortable sleeping, it was hard to get him to wake up for his milk. But somehow, giving him his medication every 6 hours wasn’t a problem.

I told Liza that I had already called the lady in charge at the shelter home in KL and that I’d be sending Liza and her kids there next week but couldn’t confirm the date as yet. It will all depend on when Liza will be discharged. Right now we will just have to wait and see and make plans only when the time comes…

 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Another newborn…

Another baby was born to an HIV+ mother today. Liza’s op was supposed to be yesterday morning, but there were only 2 specialists available then and so they decided to give priority to 2 urgent cases. As such, Liza’s op was postponed to today. Liza herself sent me a text message yesterday to inform me of the postponement.

So today, after settling some things at the Buddies centre, I went to the hospital to visit Liza, using my special pass.IMAG0098

Without the special pass, I would have to wait until visiting hours to visit my clients. And visiting hours in Ipoh GH is very limited.

The grille door was closed when I got to the maternity ward at 4 pm. But the guard allowed me in the moment I showed her my pass. I wasn’t sure which room Liza was in so I decided to ask the nurse. The moment I mentioned Liza’s name, they immediately knew without even having to check their register.

Ha, saya baru nak talipon. Ni kakak dia ke, makcik dia?” said the nurse.

Apparently Liza and her baby had just been wheeled in to the ward after the delivery which ended about 2 pm. Liza had sought the nurse’s favour to call her sister.

Well, I was neither the kakak nor the makcik, but I must say the nurses were rather helpful. Unlike the other mothers where their husbands were around with them, Liza had nobody and had to depend on the nurses. One of them went to the room where Liza was earlier warded to get her stuff, including some used baby clothes which Liza had brought along with her from home.

I forgot to ask Liza if she had thought of a name for her newborn, but even if Liza already has a name for him, I can’t use his real name here, can I? So yeah, let’s just call him So’od. :)

So’od looked well and fine. And the fact that they let him be with Liza at the ward, meant that he didn’t require special attention. Very different from Cek Mek’s case last year where the little girl was immediately sent to ward 6C while the mother was at the maternity ward.

Whatever it is, Liza needs a temporary place to stay (together with So’od and his older brother, 2 years old) until she is physically and financially stable enough to stay on her own. Although her sister is understanding and supportive enough, the sister isn’t working and stays with her husband at her mother-in-law’s home.

So I’m arranging for a shelter home for Liza in KL. Only problem now is, it will be Raya Haji next week, and depending on when Liza will be discharged from the hospital, I may have problems arranging for transport for Liza.

But I’ll take things one step at a time. For the moment, we can’t even be sure when Liza will be discharged, so I definitely can’t arrange for a specific date for Liza and her children to go to KL.

I will need to make a few calls tomorrow morning, probably during my clinic duty; and I intend to visit Liza again in the afternoon, immediately after my clinic duty ends.

Maybe tomorrow morning before going for clinic duty, I’d better go buy some diapers and infant formula as well. Liza had been depending on her savings to survive for the past few months, I doubt she has enough savings to buy milk for her baby since she can’t breastfeed the little boy.

More updates later…

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Decision

After groceries were delivered to Sofie’s family on Monday, Lin’s turn came on Tuesday. This time I chose to send the groceries in the morning as I knew Lin would definitely be home and I wanted to take a rest and just stay home in the afternoon.

Tuesday morning by 10 am I was already at the minimarket. It was rather cloudy, and I was praying that it wouldn’t suddenly rain like it did the day before that got me all drenched.  Thank God it didn’t.

The drive to Lin’s house was smooth… although I didn’t quite like this particular scene…

IMAG0108 Ahh, pollution… pollution… even the registration plate was not visible!

Well, there was a better scene on the way back…

cowsThe only worry was if these animals suddenly decided to cross the road!

Anyway, when I got home, after lunch I thought I’d just take a short nap. I thought I deserved that nap after the hectic past few days. But suddenly my hand phone rang, with the Mission Impossible ringtone. That’s the assigned ringtone for my PLHIV clients (used to be the Bond theme, but after a while I decided to change to MI).

The call was from Razif. Remember Razif? He called me about a month ago to seek my advise when he and his wife, both HIV+, found out that the wife was pregnant. At that time they had not gone to any clinics, they just did a home pregnancy test. I told him necessary precautions could be taken to avoid transmission of HIV from mother to child; and that many of my other clients safely gave birth to babies who were later confirmed negative. I also advised him to get an earlier appointment at the ID clinic for his wife as it was important for the doctor to know about the wife’s pregnancy. After about 2 weeks when I sent him a text message if he had arranged for the appointment, Razif replied saying that he did not arrange for the appointment as both he and his wife had decided for an abortion.

I thought then that the abortion had already been done… until early last week when he called to say that despite the abortion methods they used (I’m not sure how they went about… maybe some traditional methods), they decided to go to a private clinic for scanning and the scan showed that the foetus was well and fine… and was already more than 3 months. Again I advised him to arrange for an earlier appointment at the ID clinic.

But apparently Razif and his wife were both still undecided. They still believed that the baby is sure to be born with the virus if they decided to go on with the pregnancy. So yesterday, again they went to a private clinic, had another scan, and asked the doctor’s advice on abortion. The private doctor didn’t know about their HIV status of course, was wondering why they wanted the abortion in the first place when the foetus was doing just fine, and told them it would be a pity if they didn’t keep the baby, but if they still decided to go for an abortion, then the charge would be RM1,500. Razif, a clerk, couldn’t afford it.

That was when he decided to call me. This time he wanted to meet up. So yeah, forget my nap, I figured it was best if I met them face to face. This time at least, both the husband and wife would be there and so I would be able to talk to the wife as well instead of talking only to Razif all the while.

True enough, just like I thought, they both didn’t quite believe what I said earlier about babies born to HIV+ mothers being confirmed negative. I had to give them examples of my other clients (they have met some of my other clients during our annual Family Day) who safely gave birth to HIV negative babies. After the heart to heart talk (Razif’s wife shed some tears), they finally decided to keep the baby. I told them to immediately go to the ID clinic, see the nurse there and arrange for an earlier appointment for the wife. They both looked a bit more cheerful and agreed to go immediately. I told them to call me anytime if they needed to talk to me.

After they left, I immediately called the nurse at the ID clinic to tell her about the problem and that Razif and wife were on their way to see her. It would make it easier for the couple with the nurse already in the know about their problem… not much explanation needed to be done by the couple.

I take extra care when it comes to pregnant PLHIVs. I just want to be sure they take the necessary precautions to safeguard the baby from infection. So far, the babies born to HIV positive mothers that I know of personally, have all been confirmed negative. The only HIV+ children I know are those who were born much earlier, when the mothers themselves had not known of their HIV status.

I sure hope all will go well for Razif and his wife.

 

Monday, 1 November 2010

Back to normal routine (I hope!)

Last week had been such a busy week for me. Being the last week of the month, I had the usual Buddies duties… clinic duty in Taiping, clinic duty in Ipoh and board meeting. What actually made me busier than usual was the launch of the Men Against Violence campaign at Padang Sultan Abdul Aziz (Polo Ground) in Ipoh on Sunday, 31st October.

As always, despite the event being just a half-day event, the preparations got into full gear a few days before. Frankly when I volunteered to be in charge of the booths, there was supposed to be another person to be in charge of the venue preparations including the tents etc. How I ended up having to take care of the venue preparations as well, beats me!

Anyway, despite some minor hiccups here and there, the launch went well, alhamdulillah.

balloon The big balloon promoting the event at the padang.

On D-day itself on Sunday, I was at the venue by 6.30 am. I was there on Saturday to oversee the setting up of the tents, the tables, the skirtings etc, but the workers were working day and night and told me they’d get things ready by 6 or 7 am the day of the event! No way was I going to wait for them to finish! So, I decided it was best if I got to the venue as early as possible on Sunday to mark all the booths with the names of the various organisations at each booth to avoid people setting up their things at the wrong booths.

The MB was initially supposed to arrive at 9 am, but just 2 days before we were told that he’d have to bring forward his arrival to 8 am since he had to rush off elsewhere after that. So we had to make sure all the booths were ready before his arrival. We had various NGOs and government agencies at the booths… Perak Women for Women, Family Health Association, Rose Virginie Good Shepherd, Befrienders, Malaysian Indian Mangalir Iyyakam (MIMI), Pink Champions, MAPIM, Puspanita, Legal Aid Centre, Prihatin Bandaraya Ipoh, Wanita UMNO, Pemadam, MAKNA, IJN, JAIP, JKM, JASA, PDRM, Amnesty International, Ipoh Specialist Hospital, Rotary Club, Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita and of course, not forgetting, the Buddies of Ipoh…

buddies

Many students and youths also helped out with the day’s events. And there was also a coloring competition for primary and pre-school kids…

coloring

The MB and wife finally made an appearance at about 8.15 am. After Negaraku and doa selamat, came the launch events including speeches and performances…

mb The MB giving his speech.

choir The choir (the kids in front were from the taridra team) singing the song HENTIKAN, composed by Dato’ Wah Idris specifically for this event. Oh don’t worry, the full mix CD with the voice of the original singer was played (please refer video on side-bar of this blog). Our own voices could hardly be heard by the audience… :)

launch The launch

mav

mark supportLeaving hand prints as mark of support for the campaign.

receiving sijil The Buddies chairperson (in red vest) receiving the sijil penghargaan from the MB :)

It was a rather tiring day for me… (I got somebody else to be the photographer using my camera as I was busy, and apparently this photographer, like me, also love to take “gambar curi”!)

break

Overall, the whole event went quite well, with the MB leaving his mark (literally) despite having to leave early…

hand mark 

When I got home at about 1.30 pm, the first thing I did was to have a good bath, then zohor prayer, then the much needed nap…

This morning while I was shopping for my own household needs, I suddenly remembered that it was already 1st November. Even when realising it was already 1st November, not much registered in my mind initially. Then suddenly I remembered… alamak, groceries for the 2 sponsored families!! With all the running around I had to do for the past few days, I forgot all about the groceries!! Immediately I sent a text message to the owner of the minimarket where I usually take the groceries, to tell him to prepare all the stuff for me to collect later at 2.30 pm.

Later when I went to collect the stuff, just as I was carrying a box into my car, suddenly there was a heavy downpour which got me drenched. So after loading all the stuff, I got into the car, and put the aircond on at full blast to dry the clothes I was wearing. It wasn’t raining on the other side of town, so I decided to go ahead and deliver the groceries to Sofie’s family.

I’ve already made arrangements to collect more groceries tomorrow morning from the minimarket to be sent to Lin’s family.

With the delivery of the groceries, I think I should be able to get back to my normal routine…

I just hope that the chairwoman of the Sekretariat Pembangunan Wanita (main organiser of the campaign)doesn’t have any big events in mind in the near future.