After the first 4 rounds of back-to-school shopping the week before, last week started off with my usual clinic duty at HRPB, Ipoh on Monday. While there was supposed to be one new case to be referred, the patient did not turn up and so I ended up just discussing some matters with the doctors and the staff nurse.
On Tuesday, HRPB organised an event in conjunction with World AIDS Day. Other than an exhibition on HIV/AIDS, there were also quizzes for the public, and a colouring competition for children. Buddies too were invited to take part.
Then on Wednesday, I proceeded with the next round of back-to-school shopping, this time in Ipoh with 2 families – Mas and Fuzi. Both with 3 schooling children each. Well, actually Fuzi’s youngest son, Iwan, who is 7 this year, is still not able to go to a proper school because of his status. You see, being born without a father (Fuzi claimed she was raped – this was after the father to her other children passed away) and having a mother who holds a foreign passport and doesn’t even have PR status, Iwan is not accepted at any government schools. If Fuzi has at least PR status, the boy can at least go to school but needs to pay more.
Fuzi did apply for PR status, but her application was not approved because although her late husband ie the father to her other 4 children, was a Malaysian citizen, Fuzi was already widowed by the time she submitted her application. So now the boy only goes to a nearby Sekolah Agama in the afternoon.
On Thursday I went to Cameron Highlands to bring the children of 2 more families shopping for their schooling needs. Although CH is in Pahang, cases in CH are referred to HRPB Ipoh, and so Buddies services also cover clients in CH as well. 5 more children this time.
I took a break on Friday, resting at home and continued with my last round of back-to-school shopping on Saturday in Batu Gajah. This time 10 children from 5 families.
So yes, I’ve completed this year’s back-to-school shopping. 23 families. 53 children. 6 shopping complexes. RM12,111 spent.
Am not sure if the volunteers have done their part for the children of their needy clients (it shouldn’t be too difficult, I don’t think they need to shop for any more than 5 children each), but for me (mind you I don’t like shopping!) it was quite an achievement. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined I would one day shop for 53 children. Phew!
And what a way to celebrate my “achievement”. Completed my back-to-school shopping in the afternoon, and later in the evening, it was the Buddies Year-End Appreciation diiner, this time held at David’s Diner.