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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Friday, 17 August 2007

Rina's story

When Rina’s brother in KL first called to ask for help for his sister who was diagnosed HIV+, I didn’t ask much of Rina’s background… whether she was married or single… how she got infected, etc. The main thing was to help her first – and to gain the family’s trust. Only when they trust us will they tell us about their personal stories.

When I called Rina’s mom, she did tell me some basic information; but when I asked if I could visit them at home to assess their situation, Rina’s mom sounded rather reluctant. That is understandable considering it was my first call and she had never met or heard of me before. She didn’t know if I could be trusted as she had never even heard of Buddies. Since Rina couldn’t walk and they didn’t have any transport, I offered to fetch them at home. But still not trusting enough, Rina’s mom said they would go by taxi.

So I let them be.

As mentioned in my previous posting, Rina didn’t turn up for her appointment that day because she couldn’t get up. When the mother called me in the afternoon, it was already too late for me to fetch them to bring them to the hospital as the HIV clinic only opens until afternoon.

So I went to visit them at home and it was obvious Rina was not able to walk on her own. I immediately told them to call the HIV clinic to fix another appointment. They got the appointment for yesterday morning so off I went to fetch them at home to bring them to the hospital. Thank God Rina’s younger brother came along, as Rina had to be carried into my car, and when we reached the hospital, she had to be carried from my car onto the wheelchair.

Due to her condition, the doctor called her in first before the other patients. And as I had suspected from the beginning, Rina had to be warded for further tests.

It was while waiting for the doctor to examine her in the room that I managed to have a private chat with Rina’s mom. Here’s Rina’s story…

Rina is a 40 year old lady. She was married about 9 or 10 years ago and the couple was blessed with a son, who is now 8 years of age. What Rina and her family didn’t know back then was that Rina’s husband was a drug addict. Although he didn’t have any permanent jobs (he was doing all sorts of odd jobs) the family accepted him into the family because Rina loved him. Initially when they were newly married, they rented a separate house to stay on their own, but Rina’s husband was always broke and it was Rina all along who had to support him. Eventually they moved back to Rina’s parents house.

Rina, being the soft-hearted kind, always fell for her husband’s pleas whenever he asked for anything. He needed a handphone, she bought him one. He needed a motorbike, she bought him a motorbike. Although Rina’s mother and siblings didn’t like what was going on, there wasn’t much they could do as it was Rina’s money.

When Rina’s father was still alive, Rina’s husband sometimes even asked for money from him, listing down all sorts of needs. And much to the mom’s dismay, the father always relented.

Rina’s younger brother always saw the husband going to a particular alley. The brother began to get suspicious as he knew that the place was famous amongst drug addicts. So he went back and told his mom about it, and they decided to tell Rina. But Rina scolded them saying that they were just lying to her because they didn’t like him.

One day when the couple went back to the husband’s kampong to visit Rina’s in-laws, her mom and brother ransacked their room. And as they had suspected, they found drugs hidden in his belongings.

Now Rina stays with her mom while her husband stays with his mom. They are not divorced, just separated. In fact, they have been living separately since their son was about 2 years old. Nowadays, he does come to visit once in a while but the son usually never wants to see the father. Furthermore, usually if he drops by, he always asks Rina for money. Even recently, when Rina had already stopped working, he did come to tell her his “sad story” about his motorbike needing repairs… about him losing the hand phone Rina bought for him… and whatever else that indirectly meant he needed money.

However, this time around Rina could not help him even if he managed to melt her heart with his sad stories. Rina herself was not working so where on earth was she supposed to get the money? The only way she could get money was from her own family members – obviously they wouldn’t give a single sen to her good-for-nothing husband! They’d take care of Rina and her child, but no way were they going to support him! Not when they know the money would probably be used to buy drugs!

Ever since Rina was diagnosed HIV positive, she became hyper-sensitive. Although she never said it directly, from the things her mom told me about her, I think deep down inside her she’s wishing she’d just die and not bother anyone any longer. She doesn’t care about her health. Her mother kept reminding her of her hospital appointments, but it was Rina herself who was so stubborn – giving all sorts of excuses. Whenever her siblings nagged to her that she should take better care of herself, she said they hated her. She wouldn’t listen to them.

That was why her brother sought our help. And true enough, coming from an “outsider”, Rina didn’t say anything much. When I told her she MUST go to the hospital, she relented. So that was how we managed to get her to the hospital yesterday. I found out from SN that Rina was supposed to have started her medication already (meaning her CD4 level is already quite low) but because she didn’t go for further blood tests as required by the doctor, they couldn’t start her on medication yet. In addition, by the time I brought her to the hospital yesterday, her blood pressure was already too low. There was no way the doctor would let her go home. Whether she liked it or not, she had to be warded for further tests.

I told her mother to call me if Rina starts being stubborn again. Now that I have been given the green light to visit them at home, I can drop by from time to time to check on her. I will need to lift up her spirits – right now she probably thinks she’s the most unlucky person in the world.

What she doesn’t realize is that she’s lucky to have her family support – something that not all the PLWHAs seem to get.


Lightnur said...

Assalamualaikum Pi Bani,

I think family support is the best thing for her. I pray that you could light up her life. May Allah make her strong and never give up. Ameen.

Subhana Allah, it was so amazing at how Allah is testing us with different type of conditions in this world to see how we would handle with each of them in detail.

Meanwhile thanks again Pi for doing such a wonderful job.

Unknown said...

Kak Pi...the deeper part of Rina's story is even sadder...and can't help being upset with Rina's husband...Reading his 'muka tembok' attitude makes my anger grows! Grrrrr...!

Thank God, Rina's family is supporting her...She needs that the most.

Thank you Kak, for striving to lift her spirit up...She definitelt needs someone as humorous and as cheerful as you...I'm glad she's referred to you!

Salam and have a great weekend...another rambutan plucking time?

Pi Bani said...


Yes, we are all tested with different types of tests. To me whenever I face any setbacks, I will just have to remind myself that there are many out there who are in much worse condition. So I must still be thankful for what I have and what I don't have!

Hi&Lo said...

Pi Bani,

Such is the story of kind-hearted people like Rina. She suffers the consequences of her husband's selfishness and irresponsibility.

God is merciful to her thru her family and you. I pray that she will not feel ashame of her illness.

Pi Bani said...

Raden Galoh,
Rina's husband's "muka tembok" is not the only thing. The other problem is, Rina sendiri pun cepat cair when the husband asks her for anything. Masih sayang despite of everything that has happened. Tapi sayang pun kena bertempatlah, takkanlah sampai nak tanggung kawan tu for his drug addictions, kan?

Pi Bani said...

The way I see it, I think Rina now feels somehow "useless". That's why she's acting the way she is right now. With the tremendous family support she's getting (the brother took the extra effort to find us when the family didn't know how else to persuade her), hopefully Rina will get back on her feet soon.

I'm thinking one of these days I may just bring along another PLWHA to meet up with her.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

wahh...thats one hay of a story. everything has been said but i'm gonna say it again. she suffers for someone else's wrong-doing.

i may sound a little harsh but junkies are living corpses. they live in their own world and only cares to have their fix. and unfortunately she didnt see that but rather was totally blinded by love.

but all is not lost for rina. as long as she still breathe she has plenty of life ahead, and for the sake of her kid especially.

thanks kak Pi.

winniethepooh said...

sometimes we do need someone else (other than the family member) to speak up and 'force' one to move..

Rina's story is indeed sad, but like what you have said Pi Bani, she is very fortunate to have her family who love and support her. Lets hope that Rina realised that she will hv to stand up for herself, her family and people who love her but more importantly for her son.

As always, you have already thought of your next move.."I'm thinking one of these days I may just bring along another PLWHA to meet up with her." :)

Bless you Pi Bani and have a great weekend!

Pi Bani said...

I sure hope Rina will soon realise she's still got her whole future ahead of her. Yes, most of the HIV+ mothers I know keeps going strong for the sake of their children - hopefully Rina thinks that way too.

Pi Bani said...

Someone will just need to remind Rina how lucky she is to get full support from her mother and siblings. Give her a bit more time and hopefully she'll realise that.

You have a great weekend too, Winnie!

Salt N Turmeric said...

i hate parasites like tht. if only theres such thing as a magic wand and we cud make him go 'whoosh'!

as lucky as rina is for having a family who love her and you for helping her, she has to wake up and realise it herself. she may wanna give up but she has a son who needs her. i hope w ur help, she'l come to her senses tht sometimes life is not abt one self but others who rely on you. in her case, the son lah, not the good-for-nothing-scumbag/loser-husband. err... did i say i hate ppl like tht already?

J.T. said...

Poor Rina. Her soft-heart and kind ways got her into this mess.

I hope things work out for her. At least, she has her family support. She would be worst off if not for them.

Recursos para tu blog - Ferip - said...


Peace :)

From Argentina...a hug!

Pi Bani said...

If I had a magic wand, there'd be quite a number of people whom I'd make them go "whooosh!" That's why God didn't grant us magic wands... :)

True, Rina needs to come to her senses, and the family must continue to give her all the love and support for her to realise that. I believe she will come to her senses, just give her a bit more time.

Pi Bani said...

Oooh... if she didn't get any family support, by now I think she may have already given up on life! What if the family gets fed-up and tell her to live with her husband since she loves him so much... aiyo... how to survive like that?!

Pi Bani said...

Welcome to Malaysia :)

Gracias for dropping by and paz to you too!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Pi,

Lama tak jumpa...Baru finish exam...

As for Rina, I'm sorry, but didnt follow the previous posting. Why can't she walk?

I'm glad she has got her family and now you to help her through her difficult times.

It's easy to tell people who are sick to not give up, but really, hospitals suck when you're sick.

The drugs, the doctors and nurses forever jabbing and poking and cucuk-ing you with something, the mind-numbing tests and more tests, where you're naked, freezing and bewildered (Hey, most doctors dont really explain, thinking you won't be able to understand!)...

So I'm glad Rina has people she can depend on...

God bless you...

silversarina said...


so sad to read Rina's is definitely blind... hope Rina is strong to still be alive... InsyaAllah.

Pi Bani said...

If the doctors/nurses don't jab or poke or cucuk or do whatever tests, people will then say masuk hospital pun the doctors/nurses not doing anything pulak...

Pi Bani said...

Oh Daph, lupa nak jawab about why she can't walk. Kaki dia swollen... but WHY swollen tu we don't know yet. That's why kena do all the tests...

Pi Bani said...

Yep, love made Rina blind. In fact too blind sampaikan cepat betul cair bila the husband cuba pujuk nak something from her. Sekarang ni pun if she's still working most likely she'd still give him money.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

kak pi,

now, how about writing stories of rina's brother and her sis-in-law, hani?

hihi..i'm such a nosey parker.

Pi Bani said...

I think you are confused... and now making me confused... hehehe..

Rina's brother is not infected, so there's nothing much to tell about him.

As for Hani, she's not Rina's sis-in-law. This one is a different story. Will tell about her later.

A bit tied up now, nanti later-later ok?

Kerp (Ph.D) said...


my apology, kak pi.

mariannie said...

Salam Saudari,
I am cooming by Doc TA & Kerp link. Alhamdullilah - masih ada lagi insan-insan seperti saudari kat mukabumi Malaysia. I want to be straight to the point-sepanjang saya terlibat dengan aktiviti luar, belum lagi saya jumpa volunteer yang namanya - Bani,Salmah,etc. Yang saya jumpa cuma macam Dapne. What I mean is -terlalu sikit org kita yang mau buat kerja amal/sukarela. You are doing such a wonderfu job.

Berbalik kepada kes Rina - saya teringatkan seorang kakak kat kg saya(allahyarhamah). Dia dijangkiti HIV sebab suaminya yang memang orang kampung semua maklum suka ke selatan Thailand. Kasihan saya - saudara-mara & orang kampung memulaunya selepas,suaminya meninggal kemudian diikuti anak kecilnya. Menurut cerita adik saya, saudaranya tidak membenarkan jenazahnya di bawa balik ke rumah & tiada sesiapa menziarahinya ketika terlantar dihospital. Apabila keluarga sendiri telah" membuang pesakit HIV, adakah masyarakat akan terima mereka?
Adakah diamencari penyakit tersebut sehingga dia dihukum sebgitu rupa?

salam networking,
missycat aka waterlily

Pi Bani said...

(mak oii, banyaknya nama!!)

I understand what you mean, even in my NGO although the HIV clients ramai orang kita, the volunteers payah nak jumpalah yang nama ada bin or binti. Some people even take for granted that I'm being paid at least some allowances to do what I'm currently doing. To them tak mungkin I'm doing all these without getting paid. Suka hati diorang lah nak fikir apa pun...

As for the HIV infected people, the medication may be able to help suppress the virus (although not able to cure) but the most important thing is moral and emotional support. So when family sendiri pun tak bagi support, lagi cepatlah the condition of the PLWHAs worsen. That's when support group like ours are needed even more. But my NGO only covers Perak, and even then there may be some cases not referred to us.

Unknown said...

Hi Pi,

Aduh! You tengah pandang I ke ni through them glasses? Eeee...terketar I tulis nih..he he. The header suits you...serious dalam senyum ya...oh...hari tu kat Sheraton you perli I ya, sebab you senyum senyum kat I sampai menusuk kalbu rasa nya...ha ha.

Hai, sampai bila perkara ni berlarutan? Victimising the poor is so rampant. That's why I said, with this ongoing abuse, people will bite back and hard. Thus the crimes, how else they wanna win? I have no answer except fight for education for all as we have discussed.

I tak nak apply MAJALLAH TIGA suku..he he.