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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Thursday, 29 May 2008

House visits with the new trainee

It has been a while since I last visited any of my clients. Ever since I was assigned a new trainee volunteer under me, I have yet to bring her around for any house visits. Weekends during school holidays are definitely not a good idea as there will be lots of kenduris to attend. So yesterday I thought of bringing the trainee with me to visit Fuzi. Since the trainee is a retiree, she doesn’t have any problems about going on a weekday. As a matter of fact, she prefers to go on a weekday.

So, after stocking up my car with some groceries donated by some good Samaritans, off I went to fetch the trainee and we headed to the small town where Fuzi stays. On the way while I was driving, a call came in. It was the general ring tone, so I didn’t expect the call to be from any of my PLWHA clients. The call turned out to be from Mrs. K’s 13 year old daughter, who called from a public phone – thus the general ring tone instead of the easily recognizable Bond ring tone.

She asked if they could borrow RM20 to buy milk for her baby sister. They ran totally out of milk powder for the little girl. While they do get financial assistance for the baby, sometimes the money gets banked in rather late. I thought something didn’t sound quite right. By right, their financial position shouldn’t as bad as when they were first introduced to me. Obviously Mr. K had finished up his EPF withdrawal, no question about that. But Mr. K’s health had improved quite a bit and the last I knew he managed to find himself a job. Surely their financial position isn’t that bad?

I told the girl I was on my way to another house which is totally the other direction from their house and that I’d try to figure something and call her back later. Before the line was cut off, I managed to hear her saying, “Phone dah tak ada!” Uh oh… that means no way of calling her back.

Actually I was thinking of visiting them next week. We were already on our way to Fuzi’s house up north of Ipoh, so we just went ahead with our original plan. If the girl had called earlier, I probably would have changed my plans and visit Mrs. K’s family first.

We got to Fuzi’s house and right after I honked, Fuzi opened their brand new door, and we were greeted by sweet smiles from Ijam, the HIV+ boy, and Iwan, his younger brother.

When I started to nag Fuzi about losing the keys to the door, Fuzi said she suspected one of the neighbor’s kids took the key. Apparently he’s quite well known for taking things from people’s homes. I don’t know how true it is, but I told Fuzi if she knew she shouldn’t trust the kid, then all the more reason for her to be extra careful and so she shouldn’t leave the keys lying around just like that. Fuzi just smiled without saying anything back – she knew she was at fault.

Anyway, I was more concerned about Ijam’s progress, He has already started taking his medication and when Fuzi showed me the whole stack of medicine for Ijam, I was thinking oh the poor kid… at such a young age he has to take so much medicine… and many times a day too. Fuzi had to set the alarm to make sure Ijam takes his medication on time. As early as 6.30 am she has to wake Ijam for his first dose, 2 more times during the day, and later at 10 pm, when Ijam is already asleep, she has to wake him up again for another dose. I guess probably the medication is not given twice a day like for other HIV patients because Ijam’s still a kid, first time taking medication, and so the medication needs to be given in smaller dosage. But am not a doctor, so I don’t know for sure.

After a while, and looking at the time, I decided maybe I should just go ahead and visit Mrs. K. The trainee didn’t seem to mind either. So we headed back to Ipoh, dropped by our centre to get more groceries, stopped by a sundry shop to buy milk powder, and then headed off to Mrs. K’s house south of Ipoh. It is school holidays and so even if Mr. and Mrs. K are at work, the kids would be home. To my surprise, when we got there, Mrs. K was home. Apparently, she had to take emergency leave as her youngest daughter (now 1 year 5 months old) was down with fever so yesterday she had to take the little girl to the clinic. Mr. K was at work while her eldest son, Shah, went to a fully sponsored motivational camp. Good for him!

While the trainee chatted with Mrs. K’s 6 year old daughter (about the cartoon they were watching on TV!), I had a quiet chat with Mrs. K. She suspects her husband is beginning to take drugs again – albeit on a smaller scale and not by injection. He has a brother and a sister who are drug addicts (I never knew this earlier) and lately he had been getting closer and closer to them. That’s probably how he initially got his supplies. Hmmm… no wonder they are beginning to get into financial problem again. And remember when the daughter called me earlier; she mentioned “phone dah tak ada”? Guess what happened to the phone? Ahah… it’s at the kedai pajak gadai… courtesy of Mr. K...

Shah, their son, had even mentioned to his mother that if things got out of hand again, he wouldn’t hesitate to hit his own father. Shah had seen enough of his mother’s sufferings when his father took drugs earlier and so naturally he didn’t want history to repeat itself. I knew from his reactions earlier that Shah had not really forgiven his father for the earlier episode, and so if Mr. K gets back to his old habit, I doubt Shah will ever forgive him.

Before I left, Mrs. K made me promise not to talk to her husband about his drug problem. She was afraid if he knew she had been telling me about it, she may get into trouble. So I told her that if she can persuade her husband to agree, I can recommend him to the proper people to get him off the habit.

And I thought that part of the problem was already over… sigh!

Anyway, this morning around 7 am, Mrs. K’s daughter called me again - this time to tell me that her baby sister who was down with fever had to be hospitalized. Apparently at around 4 am the little girl was crying and crying and they noticed she was turning blue. So they immediately rushed her to the hospital. I don’t know much detail yet since I didn’t get to speak to Mrs. K (the daughter called from a public phone).

Oh dear, I do hope it’s nothing serious…


Kerp (Ph.D) said...

yea, lets hope nothing's too serious, insyaAllah.

reading the earlier part, somehow i could sense what actually happened to the phone. either pajak gadai OR, sold off as a result of their hardship. but one thing's for sure, it was heart-wrenching to read they cant even afford a can of milk powder for the kid. real sad lah.

you know what kak Pi, the gomen (the welfare ministry) has launched this project called Projek Cari-Cari in searching for those in dire need of assistance. since it is still new we obviously cant tell how effective it will be but lets be optimistic about it. lets hope they ministry will comb the whole country, esp in rural area and that none will be overlooked, lagi2 kes macam Fuzi and keluarga Mr K.

Salt N Turmeric said...

I feel sorry for Mrs.K. Mr. K tu stil tak sedar diri lagi. Duit epf dah habis. kalau his workplace dpt tau tht he's using again, kan ke kena fire nanti. susah tau kalau otak dah kat lutut.

Pi Bani said...

Frankly I doubt Mrs. K's family will get welfare assistance. Alangkan minta bantuan sekolah pun tak dapat atas alasan "anak tak ramai". Now that both Mr and Mrs K kerja lagilah tak payah...

Pi Bani said...

Masa dia tak kerja dulu, okay je Mr K tak ambik benda tu. Kita ni encourage lah dia kerja so when his health condition improved. Tapi bila dah dapat kerja lain pulak jadinya...

winniethepooh said...

if Mr. K is really taking drugs, lets hope that Mr. K can 'wake up soon' and stop hurting himself and those who love him..for a child to say he wont hesitate to hit his own father, that is so heart aching

hope that all will be well for the bb gal

u take care too Pi Bani

Pi Bani said...

Yep,hopefully Mr.K will wake up soon! For the sake of his family (and not forgetting himself of course), he'd better come to his senses soon.

As for the little girl, she was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, but I just received news that she had to be warded again today. Haven't had the chance to visit yet as I just came back from KL.

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