While I was running some errands in Ipoh on Tuesday, a call came in from a doctor (FMS) who covers Sg Siput area. He called me a few years ago to seek help for a HIV patient of his, who's also an Orang Asli (OA). So I went to the clinic, and after discussing the case with him, he got a nurse to accompany me to the lady's house. But since it was difficult to get this lady to cooperate, added to the fact that she didn't have a phone, I had trouble following up on this case.
So when the good doctor called me again on Tuesday to seek my help for the same case, I knew it was probably because the situation was getting more desperate. Apparently this lady just underwent a surgery recently, is a bit more willing to talk, and has a whole lot of problems. Since today I had to go to Taiping Hospital for clinic duty, I decided I might as well drop by Sg Siput on my way back. Although the clinic I needed to go to was quite a distance from Sg Siput town, it was still more cost effective going on the same day as my Taiping duty.
The doctor himself was not on duty today at that particular clinic, he informed the nurse (the same nurse who accompanied me a few years ago) to liaise with me. Once I reached the clinic, 2 nurses met up with me, asked if I wanted them to accompany me to the OA's home. Of course I wanted them to accompany me... it had been some time since my last visit, and the kampong is further in and quite a distance from the clinic. Besides, the OA lady is more familiar with the nurses, and so I wanted her to feel more comfortable in the presence of familiar faces.
The moment I parked my car by the roadside near the OA's house, the nurses commented, "Hah, adalah tu kat rumah, tingkap buka!" We had to walk up a slightly hilly area. Her 18 year old son was sleeping, covered himself with a blanket despite it being a hot day. Probably because of the presence of a lot of mosquitos. I slapped myself quite a number of times today because of the mosquitos.
The house was previously owned by her late 1st husband. Before the husband died, he told his good friend to take care of his wife in case anything happened to him. After the 1st husband died, and after the end of the lady's iddah, the good friend took the OA lady (both 1st and 2nd husbands are not OAs) as his second wife. The OA got pregnant, was found to be HIV+, and when all her children got tested, her eldest son, now 18, was also found to be HIV+. The boy however, refused to get treatment, and simply ran away whenever the staff from KK went to visit them at home, trying to coax him to go for treatment.
The husband now no longer cares about the OA. He took their child (now 5) to stay with him, and wouldn't even let her visit the boy. Only when the boy cries and ask for his mother, then only he'd bring the boy to the house, drops him off there before coming to pick him up again. He however never really divorced her. He just told her that he'd never return to that house again, and in fact told her to get out of the house and go live elsewhere. Apparently, he had sold the land to his relatives staying in the same kampong. Now even his relatives who bought the land are pestering the OA lady to move out.
As for the 18 year old boy, he does odd jobs to earn some income. Sometimes he'd get paid helping to paint houses, sometimes he'd help his friend sell burgers. He has a motorbike bought under his friend's name, because he himself doesn't have a license. All the while he had been riding the motorbike without a licence. Why? Because neither he nor his mother could afford to pay for him to sign up for lessons/test.
Anyway, before this OA lady can apply for assistance from various agencies, her status needs to be cleared first. She is a single mother but on paper she's still somebody's wife. And when you apply for assistance from these agencies, it's the black & white status that counts. So first thing we need to help her out with is to bring her to Pejabat Agama to file for a divorce. When we spoke to her today, she's willing to do that provided somebody can bring her to the Pejabat Agama.
Next, is to find her another place she can stay without having anyone telling her to move out. One option is to find her an affordable house to rent, and apply for help from Baitulmal to pay for her monthly rental. Another option is to apply for one of the PPRT houses meant for Orang Asli like her. In both cases however, we'd need to get her divorce to be formalised.
I'm also hoping to arrange for her son to get a motorbike license so that we don't have to worry about him being caught by the police for riding a motorbike without a license.
The OA is still recuperating from her surgery, so we'd probably give her some time before we bring her to the Pejabat Agama.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to get donations from friends to help her out while waiting for her divorce papers to be finalised.