With more than 60% of the attendees of our Family Day last Sunday consisting of my clients and their families, while the rest, even though not my client, do at least know me other than their own buddy, I made it a point to make sure I chatted with each and every one of them.
Sofie and her 4 children, Lin and her 3 children, Fuzi and her 5 children, Zainab and her 2 children, are all already very familiar with me because I visit them often. And even though I don’t visit the K’s that often, all 4 children are also familiar with me.
I had not met Jay’s children before, usually I’d meet her only at the hospital when the children aren’t around. So yes, I finally got to meet her 3 children. Then there’s Aza, whom I only met once when I visited her at home, before passing her case to somebody else.
When I got to The Roots, a few clients and families were already there. Fuzi and family, Shila and daughter, Kamala and daughter, Pushpa and her aunt (Pushpa is an HIV+ orphan who stays her aunt) plus one male client I wasn’t quite familiar with but I know I’ve met him before.
Kamala & daughter, together with Pushpa & her aunt were going around enjoying the scenery. They were actually looking for Kamala’s buddy, who was supposed to come but didn’t turn up and never even bothered to inform me. But I’ve visited both Kamala and Pushpa before during my assessment visits, so the moment they saw me, they immediately came over to me to say hello. Most of the time during the day the 4 of them were together, but they still joined the rest for the games and activities.
Lin had adult daughters who were like friends to her, so I didn’t really see her chatting much with the rest of the ladies. However I was glad that at the swimming pool, she and her daughters did take the liberty to look after the 2 girls of a client who didn’t come with their parent, as their father was too weak to come. But whenever Lin saw me chatting with the other ladies, she’d take the opportunity to join me in the conversation. I guess she’s just the type who doesn’t know how to start a conversation with people she’s not too familiar with.
One person who didn’t have any problems making friends was Rin. Talkative and friendly, Rin however sometimes tend to forget that not everyone can understand her Parit dialect.
Fuzi and her children, being regulars to our Annual Family Day, had no problems letting their hair down. Her children joined every single activity. Likewise, Sofie’s children had a swell time too, although her eldest son decided not to jump into the pool. Her 2nd son, Azman, the kaki sakat, had a swell time.
The K’s came in full force – all 6 of them. It was nice to see the eldest son Shah (I think he’s 20 this year) taking good care of his 4 year old sister in the pool. The other children too seemed to be enjoying themselves.
For Zainab, it was only her 2nd time joining our Family Day. The first time was back in 2007. This time however, she came only with her 2 daughters. Her husband, however, chose not to come. I guess he wanted to avoid having anyone “lecturing” him because he had been defaulting all his hospital appointments. It was Zainab’s 6 year old who almost got herself drowned when, upon seeing the other older children in the adults pool, decided to simply jump into the adults pool instead of the children’s pool. That happened while Zainab was chatting with one of the other ladies. Then Shila shouted, “Anak siapa tu?!” Upon seeing her daughter struggling, Zainab immediately jumped into the pool to save her daughter. After that both her daughters made sure they remained in the children’s pool.
Hana couldn’t come for the family day as she had to work, but that didn’t stop her children and their grandma (Hana’s mother) from joining us. The grandma just sat around watching over her grandchildren who were having fun in the pool. But she was so sporting, when we were taking the group photo and the photographer said, “OK, freestyle!" she sportingly raised both hands and showed the peace sign.
One of the ladies did mention to a colleague of mine that under normal circumstances, she and her children wouldn’t be able to come to places like this.
At the end of the day, I could see that none of them regretted coming (although I know a few of them, especially the first timers, had second thoughts earlier on whether they should join us). In fact I think they really had a good time. When we were getting ready to go home, first Mrs K came over to me, “Kak, kejap kak… nak bergambar. Along cepat Along, ambik gambar mak dengan Kak Zah!” (note: Mrs K is the only person calling me Kak Zah) Then Rin quickly took out her camera, “Eh, saya pun nak jugak!” and passed her camera to Mrs K’s son. Finally I called all the kaum ibu who were there and we all took a photo together…
The day after the event, I received a text message from Rin, "Jutaan terima kasih banyak pada semua yang terlibat tempoh hari lebih2 lagi akak sebab susah payah untuk kami. Saya dapat banyak kenalan baru yang senasib. Kami happy. Saya doakan semoga akak dirahmati & Allah akan memberkati hidup akak sekeluarga."
Ahh… that made it worth all the effort…