The last time I went to Taiping together with a few fellow volunteers to visit some new clients as per my posting here, we couldn’t get hold of Rajan. So we only got to meet Selvi who was in the hospital, and then we met Roslan, although it was so difficult to get hold of him, he simply didn’t answer his calls and didn’t reply the text messages my colleague sent him. It was only after I sent a text message using my hand phone did he finally replied the text message asking who I was.
Anyway, my colleague managed to get hold of Rajan recently. Apparently when we tried to contact him earlier, his phone went kaput and so the calls didn’t get through. So today we decided to go again, this time to visit Rajan at his home, and then to get hold of Roslan to get the photocopies of supporting documents. The moment I made the decision to visit Taiping today, I told my colleague to call both Rajan and Roslan to get all the necessary documents ready. But my colleague only managed to get hold of Rajan. As for Roslan, the same thing happened, calls not answered and text messages not replied. So I told my colleague, if Roslan still didn’t reply by the time we got to Taiping, let’s just forget about him.
This morning I was already at the Buddies Center by 8.15 am. I told my colleague we’d make a move at 8.30 am. But this particular colleague is not known to be a punctual person, he got to the center only at 8.40 am; so we definitely couldn’t make a move at 8.30 am! From the center, we first went to Kuala Kangsar, using the old trunk road, to pick up a new volunteer before getting to the highway to proceed to Taiping. We stopped at Taiping Hospital first to pick up another trainee volunteer.
Meanwhile I got my colleague to call up Rajan or his wife (Rajan’s speech is a bit slurred) to get directions to their house. Their house is within an estate area in a small town on the outskirts of Taiping. Rajan’s wife made it sound so simple… after my colleague mentioned we were at Taman xxx, she told my colleague to just go straight ahead until we reach the small town, and then just go straight again until we find a Tamil school just by the main road. She’d come and meet us at the Tamil school and guide us to her house. I asked my colleague who spoke to her, to ask for the name of the school, but according to him, the lady said that’s the only Tamil school there.
Alright! Sounded simple enough, there shouldn’t be any problem! Or so we thought…
We followed her instructions, went straight, until we reached the small town, the Tamil school was supposed to be after the town area. We simply couldn’t find any Tamil school. So we stopped to ask a guy, and he showed us a junction we had just passed. So we turned back, and although we couldn’t find the school, there was a signboard of the school by the main road (without any arrows or anything to indicate that where the school was). We then called Rajan’s wife, who kept saying she was on her way. My colleague told her to look out for my Kenari.
After a while, she was still nowhere in sight. We called again, and was told that she was already waiting at the school. I finally decided to speak to her myself. I had asked my Tamil speaking colleague to speak to her earlier to avoid miscommunication but we didn't seem to be on the right track. I asked her which school she was talking about, and she just said, “Bukan itu jauh sekolah, ini dekat punya sekolah saja”, making me think that we must have already passed the school earlier. But she did finally told me to just wait there at the school and she’d come fetch us. We still decided to turn back and maybe meet her half way, but nope, to no avail. We stopped to ask one Malay guy asking where the particular kampong was, he just said, “Ada simpang depan tu masuk kiri, lepas tu ada traffic light masuk kiri lagi.” Only problem was, he didn’t tell us WHICH simpang to masuk kiri, and we were back on the main road again.
I then decided to go back to the school that we went to earlier. Who knows, maybe Rajan’s wife may already be there. True enough, just as we were about to enter the junction, we saw a lady on a motorbike who looked as though she was looking out for a Kenari… :-)
Thank goodness, all we had to do then was just to follow her. To our surprise, she didn’t head back to town, but instead brought us further in. Quite far from the small town I must say, and from the main road (yang dia kata jalan teruuuuuuss je tu), there was another right junction we were supposed to take before we could find another Tamil school! Duh! Patutlah tak jumpa. When she mentioned “dekat punya sekolah”, she meant “dekat” to her house, not “dekat” for us to find!
And following her from behind her motorbike was quite nerve-wrecking I must say. The first time she gave the right signal, she remained on the left side of the road, making me unsure whether to signal right or not. The second time she gave a right signal, she went straight right without even looking to see if there was any vehicle coming from behind! Adoi, I was thinking, ini perempuan ada lesen ka tada??
We finally reached her house, and found out… no wonder la bawa motor macam orang tak ada lesen… MEMANG TAK ADA LESEN!! And in fact that was her first time going out of the kampong to the main road on the motorbike. Oh well, but she didn’t seem scared. The 4 volunteers in the Kenari behind her motorbike were the ones who got scared!
Anyway, Rajan only found out about his HIV after he met with an accident last year, causing fatal injury, forcing him to quit his job as a lorry driver. It had been a tough year for them since then, but they are already beginning to get monthly payments from Socso and the Welfare Department. So things aren’t as too bad anymore… but with 4 schooling children and house rental to pay, it’s not enough. Rajan is unable to walk on his own without being aided by his wife, and going to Taiping Hospital for his appointments, taxis usually charge them about RM30 one way.
Thank goodness Rajan’s wife was tested negative for HIV, so at least she can take care of him.
After taking down all the necessary details, and getting Rajan to sign the form to enable us to submit his application for the Pediatric Aids Funds, we left. By then it was already almost 12.30 pm. Roslan had still not replied my colleague’s SMS, so we left it as it is. If the clients want help but they themselves are making it difficult for us to reach them, so be it. Why should we go out of our way when they themselves don’t want to answer our calls?
So I just sent the Taiping volunteer back to the hospital, then headed back to Kuala Kangsar to send off the other volunteer, before heading back to Ipoh. It was already 2.30 pm by the time we reached Ipoh. And after all the pusing-pusing and waiting, the mileage for the day… 245 km.