With Ramadhan approaching and donations starting to come in meant for my PLHIV families, I figured I didn’t really have much time left for me to do my pre-Ramadhan visits.
On Thursday I started buying some groceries – rice, cooking oil, sugar, flour, canned food, biscuits, cordial, etc, thinking of storing them at the Buddies Centre so that whenever I decide to visit any of my clients, I’d just go to the Centre and get the groceries from there.
Right after putting all the stuff in my car, I thought there was still time, so I called Fuzi to find out if she was home. As soon as she said she was home and wasn’t planning to go anywhere, I told her I was coming over. Might as well settle one family first since I didn’t have any other plans. After all, I had already got photos of our Family Day printed and sorted out to be given to the various families, and I’m sure the kids were eagerly waiting to see their photos.
So off I headed to Fuzi’s house. I got there at about 11 am or so…. saw Ijam already in his school uniform, waiting for the school bus to come. Iwan, the youngest boy, was at a neighbour’s house, playing with some friends.
Anyway, Fuzi was telling me her problem with her boys. While the 2 girls had never been a problem for her, the boys tend to befriend naughty boys who would ponteng sekolah as and when they like. Sometimes, when one of the friends decide not to go to school for “not feeling well” (although they were well enough to go out and play), the friend would come over to the house to “cari gang” so that Fuzi’s son too would ponteng as well. Of course Fuzi refused to let her sons ponteng, but sometimes the sons can be very stubborn.
I know it had never been easy for Fuzi. But she’s lucky her 2 daughters had always been responsible and reliable.
On Friday, I promised to meet up with Shila at the hospital after she’s done with some check-up. Told her to give me a call once she’s done.
While waiting for Shila to call, I went to a hypermarket to buy some things for myself. But before I got down from my car, I decided to call Aini to check how she was doing. Aini was the one who got warded last week and had to miss our Family Day although she and her children had always been regulars to the event. I thought if Aini was home then maybe I could visit her at home as well. But Aini said she was at the post office.
I then got down from the car and as I was walking over to the escalator to get up to the hypermarket, I saw a few familiar faces… Aini and 2 of her children!! When she said she was at the post office, I thought it was the post office near her house. But apparently she was at the post office in the same building as the hypermarket!
“Ponteng sekolah ke?” I asked her daughter.
“Mana ada! Ni dari sekolahlah ni…”
It was report card day, and Aini & her 2 children just came from her daughter’s school to get her report card. Aini needed to buy a pair of trackbottom for her son and so after getting the daughter’s report card, they immediately headed to the hypermarket.
“Hah, dah alang-alang jumpa Makcik Afizah kat sini, tunjuk terus keputusan kat dia,” Aini told her daughter. And she responded with, “Alaaaaa…..” but still took out her results anyway. A string of B’s, C’s and D’s… but she still managed to come out top in her class. She’ll be sitting for her SPVM this year.
I showed them some pics of the Family Day that they missed.
“Alaaa bestnya… makcik buat la lagi sekali… untuk kitorang je!”
I was still holding the report card when the girl said, “Tu makcik nak frame ke?” Hehehe… sorry girl, I forgot to give back lah!!
By about 10.30 am or so, I headed to the hospital. Even though Shila had not called yet, I wanted to see SN at the HIV clinic to ask a few things, particularly regarding payments for the hospital bills. Shila had just got her bill for the time when she was warded some time back, amounting to RM68, which she couldn’t afford to pay because she’s not working. Apparently Aini didn’t have to pay when she was discharged on Monday, she just told the lady at the counter (as instructed to her by SN) that hers was an HIV case, and so she was exempted from payment.
Aini could have still got the exempt from payment by showing her JKM card, like I did for Sofie before. Shila however, does not have a JKM card because she is not getting any financial assistance from the Welfare Department. She has applied, but was told they didn’t approve her application because she had only one child. And after checking with the nurse at the HIV clinic, Shila couldn’t get exemption because of her HIV either. She was warded earlier for something else, not HIV-related, and as such the exemption from payment did not apply in her case.
So how? Well, by the time Shila called me to say she was done with her check-up, I went over to see her, and settled the bill for her. Since we now have our Clients Welfare Fund, we use the funds for cases like this.
Shila’s 11 year old daughter Laila also came along to the hospital to accompany her mother. She self-declared the day a holiday for her because she wanted to follow her mother to Ipoh.
Anyway, by the time we settled the hospital bill etc, Shila was already very hungry. She had to fast before coming to the hospital for some scanning etc, so she hadn’t had anything to eat in the morning. I brought them both to the nearby mall because Shila and daughter wanted to jalan-jalan after that, and immediately took them for lunch at one of the fast good outlets there. Shila and Laila often go to the mall after any of Shila’s hospital appointments, and the daughter would always ask the mother if she could eat at the fast food outlet, but Shila simply couldn’t afford it there. So when I asked if she’d like to eat there (I didn’t know earlier that the girl had always wanted to eat there), Laila just smiled and nodded.
After lunch I left them there and headed home. A few more visits to be done next week, including one to the home of a new client whom I have not met before…