When I called Aini last week to ask her when I could take her children for their back-school-shopping, I was told the boys followed their uncle to KL and would only be back over the weekend. And since her appointment at the hospital was on Tuesday, I told her I’d fetch her and her kids on Wednesday afternoon.
Today after my lunch and prayer, off I went to fetch them. This time, only 2 out of Aini’s 3 kids came along. Her eldest daughter was home when I went to fetch them today, but this time she didn’t follow us as she has one more SPVM paper to sit for tomorrow.
So it was just me, Aini and her 2 boys. The boys, going into forms 1 and 3 respectively, were rather shy. Unlike the other kids who’d grab the opportunity to get themselves everything new, these 2 boys would only take the things they felt they really needed. From the 3 families I’ve taken shopping so far, these 2 took the least stationeries. As a matter of fact, according to Aini, the older boy asked her earlier, “Apasal makcik Afizah pulak yang tolong belikan barang sekolah? Seganlah mak…” Aini just told him that we’re an NGO helping out single mothers.
NGO for single mothers? You see, none of Aini’s family members know that Aini and her late husband were HIV+. Her children knows she has health problems, but since Aini has various ailments including kidney problems, they never question her. And since I know the children aren’t aware of their mother’s HIV status, I never mention the word when they are around. Aini would still tell me about her appointments at the hospital etc, but without ever mentioning HIV or AIDS.
The family now survives on welfare aid of RM300 a month. Previously, Aini used to babysit a neighbour’s child and got paid RM200 per month, but according to her, the child’s mother had quit her job and no longer sends the child to Aini. So, RM200 less income for Aini now. She still needs all the help she can get.
Her eldest daughter plans to get a temporary job after her SPVM. I asked Aini if her daughter had any courses in particular she’s interested to pursue once results are out. I was told she’s very much interested in tourism management.
So I got home and surfed the net to find out more about the available courses and colleges. Hmmm…. there’s one in Ipoh which offers the course as well. I just hope she will at least get the minimum required results to take up the course.