We had a Raya event on Saturday – organised by my school alumni, and the special guests are the PLHIV families under Buddies wing. There’d be too many if I were to invite all our clients, so I ended up inviting only the ones getting help from our Children Education Fund and Education Sponsorship Programme. All in all, 12 families agreed to come, with 27 children altogether.
The actual turnout? More than 100% attendance. No pullouts whatsoever, in fact one family came with extra baggage. Fuzi, who already had 5 children of her own, told me, “Kak, ada anak kawan 2 orang ikut, boleh ke kak?” If she had asked me earlier I would have said no, but by the time she sought my permission, they were already at the bus station when I fetched them. I couldn’t possibly say no and tell the 2 kids to go home, could I? But next time when I invite her for any events, I’d better remind her that the event is only for our clients and family members only, not any others.
All the families who needed transport from the bus station to the hotel were told to be there by 2.30 pm. By the time I got there at 2.30 pm, all of them were already there. Yayy, they were all punctual! The Raya event too ran smoothly. Things were rather informal, with just a welcome speech, followed by entertainment by a balloonist while the guests were enjoying their meal. We just went around, chit chatting with each other, and the few school alumni members who attended also took the opportunity to talk to the PLHIV families and got to know some of their plight.
Before the programme ended, all of them were given some duit raya… the children given a smaller amount, while the heads of each family were given a bigger amount.
For me, I took the opportunity to find out their latest happenings…
From Sofie’s children, Ika and Saiful, I found out that their brother (the one who went to the culinary school) didn’t bother to meet them on Hari Raya. He did go to his mother’s grave to see Aunt Rozi, their new guardian, to apologise to her, but he didn’t bother to see his own siblings at home. He instead went to the home of his other aunt (the aunt who been badmouthing Sofie when she was still alive) and told them that he had been shunned by his Aunt Rozi and his own siblings. Duh! He was the one who didn’t bother to go home to see them, probably felt guilty when his Aunt Rozi just kept quiet when he apologised, and then he tells people he is being shunned by his family. Duh!
From Hana, I found out that her 2nd daughter has heart problems, and is due to undergo some tests at the hospital next week. She showed me the letter saying she’d need to pay a deposit of RM100. OK, I probably need to get her some help here.
Fuzi told me that her HIV infected son, Ijam, will be doing his circumcision at the hospital during the next school holidays. The paed at HRPB had kindly helped make the arrangements for the boy. The good doc even told her that no payment is required.
Laila, Shila’s daughter, just completed her UPSR and seemed happy. The girl came with her grandma. According to the grandma, Laila had shown improvement in her studies and her class teacher even told her to fill in the form to be considered for boarding school next year.
The rest? Nothing out of the ordinary. But I do know they went home happy after the Raya event. Thank you to the organisers who sponsored these families…