Last month when I was at the airport, about to check-in for my 2 weeks umrah trip, I received a whatsapp message from the daughter of one of my clients, Aini, informing me that her mother was hospitalised and in the ICU. Usually I’d immediately visit if any of my clients are hospitalised, but there was no way I could visit Aini then. I just told the daughter, Erin, that I was leaving for umrah and would only be back after 2 weeks, but to keep me updated for any developments.
Upon reaching Jeddah, the moment I switched on my phone and wifi was available, I noticed there was another message from Erin. The message was short… “Mama critical.” There wasn’t much I could offer then but my du’a.
There were no further messages from Erin after that, so the moment I got home from umrah, I sent the girl another message, asking her how her mother was doing. Alhamdulillah, Aini was discharged by then and was resting at home. I however was still coughing badly and had lost my voice, there was no point visiting Aini at home (her parents’ home actually, she had moved to stay with her parents after she became too weak to take care of herself).
It had been more than a month since then, so today I decided to visit. I checked first with Erin the address of her Opah’s home and what her mama needed. After finding out that Aini needs to use adult diapers, I decided to buy some diapers for her.
When I got to the house, Aini’s mother came out, wondering who I was (I think Erin didn’t tell her I was coming). When I told her my name, she immediately knew who I was. “Selalu dengar nama tapi tak pernah jumpa”, she said. Aini was in the kitchen, having her breakfast. Thank goodness someone gave her an old wheelchair no longer being used, making it easier for the family to move Aini around at home.
Erin was also home, on leave until mid of next month before continuing for her final semester at a polytechnic. She plans to work immediately after getting her diploma, so she can support her family.
It was Erin who told me in detail what went on when her mother was hospitalised last month. Apparently Aini’s condition was so critical, even the doctors told them to be ready for the worse as her chances were rather slim. All the family members (Aini’s siblings) staying elsewhere came back to Ipoh. Based on Aini’s condition at that time, nobody thought Aini would be able to make it. Erin’s hands were trembling when the doctors asked her to sign some documents for some procedures they needed to do on Aini.
Cutting a long story short, alhamdulillah, Aini did get out of it. Well yes, she is bed-ridden and unable to take care of herself, but at least she is able to sit and talk. She is still home and her 3 children are still able to be with her.
Anyway, Erin asked me if the volunteers in Buddies are working people or if they are doing this voluntary work full time. I told her we all have to work to make a living and that we can only carry out our voluntary work when we are free. Apparently, she is interested to become a volunteer but she was initially afraid that if she becomes a volunteer, she may not have the opportunity to work and earn income for her family. Erin felt that the experience of seeing for herself what other families have to go through would be good for her.
I was so happy to hear of her interest to become a volunteer. I told her that once she completes her diploma and comes back for good, I will start taking her under my wings and train her personally. She can tag along with me when I visit my clients.
She will be the first of my clients’ children to become a volunteer. I hope there will be more of them in future. We sure need young blood in our NGO.