THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Clinic duty

Our voluntary duties at the ID Clinic at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun are usually on Wednesdays. In the past, it used to be on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. Then with special request from the ID Clinic, and with the availability of more teams of volunteers from our side, we started sending volunteers to the ID Clinic every Wednesdays (except the 5th Wednesdays of the months, if any).

However, since last month, the ID Clinic had set the appointments of newly referred cases to either Mondays or Thursdays. That means the chances of us being referred any new cases on Wednesdays are very very slim. There’s no point sending in volunteers when we already know that the chances of being referred any new case is slim.

We don’t have enough volunteers to go for clinic duties twice a week, so going on both Mondays and Thursdays is out of the question. And so, during our Board meeting last month, we decided to opt for Mondays.

So yes, since my clinic duties are on the 2nd and 4th week of each month, yesterday was my first Monday clinic duty. I used to have a terrible time looking for a parking space near the hospital whenever I went for my clinic duties. Then when the hospital started their shuttle van services, seeing that not many people use them, I wasn’t sure if I should use them either.

But the parking nightmare got even worse lately ever since a part of the parking lot at the hospital is no longer available as they are constructing a new building there. People now simply park by the roadside of the busy road in front of the hospital, right to across the road just beside Anderson School. While most people are still not using the free shuttle van services (either they aren’t aware of its existence or they aren’t sure if the service is good enough for them), I no longer wanted to endure all the trouble of finding a parking space for my car. So yep, I have been making full use of the free shuttle van services for quite some time now. All I need to do is to park my car at the velodrome parking (which so happens to be very near my kampong), and take the shuttle van from there. Easy peasy!

Anyway, 2 cases were referred to me yesterday. Both men. One 50 year old man, married but has yet to tell his wife. I told him that his wife not only needed to know, but she’d need to get tested as well. He promised he’d inform his wife ASAP, and I offered him my help, telling him that if his wife needed a woman to talk to, she could count on me. Meanwhile, I have assigned a male volunteer to be his buddy, and I’ve told the assigned volunteer to follow up on him later, to make sure he had indeed informed his wife.

The second case was a young guy, still single. He claimed he only had sex with one girlfriend and he had never taken drugs before. However, when he started getting ill, the girlfriend simply left him and even changed her phone number so he wouldn’t be able to get hold of her.

But while he is staying with his parents, he doesn’t want his parents to know. He doesn’t want his mother to worry.

He does however, need someone to talk to. And that’s where we come in. He welcomed the idea of having a buddy assigned to him. And he welcomed it more when I told him I’d assign an HIV+ volunteer to be his buddy. Someone he can freely talk to about his health condition. Someone he can relate with. Someone he can really open up to.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Buddies & The Lost World

Sunday 1st September 2013 – THE Day for our Family Day. This year, we chose Lost World of Tambun… the 3rd time the park was chosen as our Family Day venue. The first time in 2007, the next one in 2010, and again this year in 2013. Hmmm… looks like a trend for us… every 3 years?

In 2010, we were the Buddiest of ‘em all…

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Suddenly in 2013, we became the Baddies… Smile with tongue out

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Anyway, I was supposed to fetch 3 families from the bus station. 2 needing transport, while another came in their own car but since they’re not familiar with Ipoh (but knows where the bus station is), I only needed one more car to ferry my clients to LWOT. But while waiting for the families, I called up to find out where they were, and one of them said that they’d be late because the public bus at their place had some problems, and so the client told me to go ahead without them and they’d get a taxi once they reached the Ipoh bus station.

Initially during our last meeting, the final count was 110 pax, inclusive of volunteers. Learning from our past events, we never book in full. Usually we’d book for only 80% as there were bound to be last minute cancellations. But since the last time we had our Family Day at LWOT, the turnout was 97%, this year we decided to book for 95 pax out of the 110 who confirmed with us.

Early morning I heard of cancellations from Taiping, and another from Ipoh. By the time I got to LWOT, another volunteer told me 2 of his clients cancelled last minute. Apparently we also had last minute additions as well, but since some of my clients were late, it was quite difficult to determine how many actual attendees there would be and whether we needed to buy extra tickets. They (LWOT) did allow us to buy additional tickets at a discounted rate (which wouldn’t cover lunch – that we would have to buy ourselves from the food stalls) but we could only request for that just once. And since we didn’t want to wait for the latecomers to arrive before allowing the rest to go in, we decided to call the latecomers to give a headcount and then proceeded to buy the discounted tickets. If there were any more additional, we’d have to buy the tickets at the normal price.

So the total number we counted was 111, so we bought an additional 16 tickets at the discounted rate.

The latecomers were my clients, Rin and the K’s who came in 2 cars. It was close to 11 am by the time they arrived, thank goodness we didn’t wait for them before allowing the others to go in. When I went out to pass the tickets to them, we were short of one ticket for a child. So I had buy one child ticket at the normal rate. Not too bad.

That means, the total number of attendees we had yesterday was a record breaking 112, including 12 volunteers, 10 of them in the pic below.

During the morning, I was at our reserved hut most of the time, just overseeing things. Also at the hut most of the time were a few clients of mine, who weren’t the type to go around enjoying themselves whether at the water park or at the theme park, but still came anyway to allow their children to enjoy themselves. A trip which they themselves wouldn’t have been able to afford if they were to come on their own.

It was during the lunch break that we decided to give away the toys I managed to collect from various donors. Of course we allowed the families to have their lunch first, then after one of my volunteers went around to get them to pick their lucky numbers, we gave out the toys (plus some brand new backpacks as well) according to the numbers they themselves picked. I must really thank all the donors of those lovely toys and other gifts. It was obviously our clients were happy with the presents they got to bring home.

We had to buy additional packs of lunch to cover for those we hadn’t covered for earlier. Then after making sure the families had their lunch and given the presents, a few of the volunteers and I headed over to the food stall to have our lunch. The additional packs we had bought earlier were not enough to cover for our own lunch. But hey, there at the food stall we got to choose what we wanted to eat… Winking smile

With the volunteers who had gone round earlier available at our hut after lunch, I decided to go around LWOT on my own after my zohor prayer. My targets were mainly new attractions which I didn’t get to see during our previous Family Day at LWOT. Went to see the team building park…

the Tin Valley…

The mini horses…

Tried out the foot spa…

And tried out the roller coaster ride called Lupe’s Adventure…

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Overall, I’d say it was a success. It wasn’t an easy task organising a Family Day for over 100 people, especially the children at a public place crowded with other groups of people as well, but everything went well and I’m sure the children had a wonderful time.

Thank you to all the volunteers to helped out, and not forgetting, to all donors.