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)
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Saturday, 31 March 2007

Oh the children!!

Last week when I visited Shah’s family, I was in a hurry. Usually I’d get some foodstuff from any of the fast food outlets before I go and visit the HIV families, particularly those with children. But that day, I was in such a hurry, I thought, never mind… there were some other stuff in the box full of groceries that I brought along, although most needed to be cooked first.

When I reached Shah’s house at about 2.30pm, Shah and her 12 year old sister were just about to have lunch. And guess what’s for lunch? Instant-noodle-in-a-cup…. one small cup shared by the 2 of them. At that moment I really regretted that I didn’t stop by any of the fast food outlets before I went to their house! I did not go empty handed, but still…

While I sat there discussing some things with Shah’s parents, his 6 year old sister slowly made her move - trying to peek into the box to see if there was anything in there for her to munch. Yep, she saw something interesting in the box. But since I was still in the house, she did not grab anything, even though I told her to just take whatever she wanted. Nope, she was simply too shy to do so.

So I decided to leave quickly so I wouldn’t have to make the little girl suffer any longer… the temptation was just too much for her!

Then there are Fuzi’s children. They always get excited if they know I’m coming. “Makcik datang nanti mesti ada biskut sedap,” they always tell their mom. And one time when I brought them all in my car to shop for their school necessities (not my money lah… it’s covered by my NGO), they were all so excited about getting into the car! When I said it’s just going to be a short journey to town, the eldest girl answered, “Tak kisahlah, janji dapat naik kereta!”

Same with most of the other families I’m dealing with.

Yes, it is so easy to please these children – unlike most of our children (and us!) who take a lot of things for granted. What’s so exciting about getting into a car? What’s so great about a tin of assorted biscuits? No big deal!

But for these poor children, all those things which we always take for granted are BIG things! Milo... Nestum... Milk... Assorted biscuits... oh WOW!! Even when they saw the pack of wheat flour, they’d excitedly tell their mom, “Ma, petang ni masak cucur ya!”

From now on I must remind myself – each time I do my house visits, I must NEVER go empty handed. I must buy something for the children. Something they can eat there and then. I must! I must! I MUST!!


Apandi said...

Keep at it Pi. Sure warms the heart reading about these visits. Semoga Allah permudahkan semua urusan you.

Monster Mom said...

I visited a friend who lost her hubby last year. Her two boys were so excited when they saw us coming with Ria (it was a company car anyway). When its time to go, they asked permission to have a peek into the Ria coz they only had Kancil...
I could just see the stars in their eyes when I said yes!!!!
I never expected that but we do take things for granted these days!

Pi Bani said...

Thanks apandi, and if you feel reading about the visits is heart warming, imagine seeing for yourself the reaction of the children.

Monster mom, you said it. Their eyes do sparkle when they get to do the things they never got the chance to do before! And these are just teenie weenie things we never thought would excite anyone.

Lee said...

Hi Pi Bani, gosh, your postings so heartwarming and heartwrenching too.
I can imagine when reading your post of the children's big eyes looking into your bag or what you brought for them.
Reading your previous post, it is regrettable to read some officials do not react to the circumstances. Kalu sini, they will be in real hot water. Here any such situations, satu telephone call to our local MPP (member of provincial parliament) atau MP or as a last resort to the press, then you'll see the fireworks! Semua kelang kabote when that happens. Action here is immediate as the journalists here love to goreng and bungkus whoever is 'inactive' so to say. (here again, practically all government officers, first thing in the morning sebelum minum kopi buka surat kabar tengok whether his/her dept name or his/her name mentioned anywhere under certain journalists who give these officials nightmares. They sure terselak on their breakfast if nampak their nama involving such cases. What more of hearing children having to share food. Gosh! It is really sad to hear of young children having to share a bowl of noodles. Oh gosh...
Why not get the press to maybe highlight such cases, open the public's eyes (and wallets)? Or go to 'higher ups', if you know what I mean?
Pi Bani, my heart goes to you and your good work, the sacrifices you make and the really wonderful lady you are. I can see the beauty in you, Pi Bani.
I will contact my friends in KL telling them of what I have learned.
You have a heart of gold, Pi Bani. Lee.

Lee said...

Hello Pi Bani,
I would appreciate it very much if you would give me
your address in KL (official address where you work)and your full name
to allow me to send DIRECTLY TO YOU a small donation.
If its alright with you, you can insert it in my blog or yours, no problems with me.
But must be direct to you only. I think you understand what I mean.
Terima kaseh Pi Bani. Lee.
p/s, I have already contacted couple of friends of mine in KL.

Pi Bani said...

Uncle Lee,
Yes, highlighting these cases in the press may be more effective in getting the help needed, but due to the stigma and discrimination many people here still have on HIV/AIDS, most of the PLWHAs are not willing to expose themselves to the public. I cannot go against their wishes. Even in using this blog to highlight their stories, I'm not using their real names.

Anyway, I'm not staying in KL, I'm in Ipoh. (I've just included my NGO's name and address in my blog) You can email me personally if you wish for further info or queries(address available on my profile page) or you can use my NGO email address provided - I'm the one who checks my NGO's emails anyway...

Anonymous said...


salut for your good work! hs never had the chance to really comment bec i really don't know what to say! thot it is pathetic enuf to see my daughter's schoolmates the way they are (i think you remember
Nawal my special daughter who is 11 now and a CP), but at least they have food and they have facilities and they have doting parents and text me your address, when next i am in ipoh i will drop by with some things for the kids of those under your care. I see my own tin of assorted biscuits whom my other kids have not even opened (or even looked at) bec got Oreos and Tim Tams still maa...!and i cringe, aiseh least they can still choose their biscuits! great work, Pi ..if I am not soh tied up with Spastic Kids' activities, I would love to be more involved but guess, my du'a are all i can offer (other than the biscuits! hopefully) for time being - kim

Pi Bani said...

Kim! Just call or SMS me whenever you're in Ipoh! I'd be more than glad to hand over whatever it is that you wish to donate to the families. Kecik tapak tangan, Stadium Perak kami tadahkan... (my house memang dekat dengan Stadium pun!)

Unknown said...

Hi Pi,

Tumpang lalu nak say hello to Lee here...

Hi Lee, it is so wonderful of you to respond to this cause. Am touched. Talk to you on your blog in a tad. Cheers.