Since one of our regular clinic volunteers started working 9 to 5 instead of his previous flexi-hour job, we are now short of one team for our clinic duties. So now there are only 2 teams for Taiping duty. One team will cover the first Thursdays of each month, while the other team (aka ME) will cover the last Tuesdays of each month. Today being the last Tuesday of this month, I was in Taiping for my duty.
I was just approaching the doctor's room when I saw a familiar looking teenage girl. As I was trying to recall who she was, I saw an elderly lady with her who I immediately remembered as the grandma of the teenage girl. The girl, Zaira, together with her younger brother Zairul, are orphans whose parents died when they were still very young. Their grandma then took care of them. When Zaira was about 11 or 12, she was down with various illnesses. She even stopped schooling because of the illnesses. The doctors then decided to do a full blood test on her, and only then was she found to be HIV+. They then tested her younger brother, and he too was found to be +ve. But Zairul continued schooling despite not doing too well academically. He is now in form 4. According to the grandma, Zairul seems more interested to set up a small business (in fact even now during weekends, he'd help out at food stalls to earn some extra income). Thank goodness his grandma insisted that he must at least complete his SPM before he starts thinking of going into business full time. I told him that he should probably take up a short business course in one of the community colleges before he goes into business full time.
Since there were no new cases referred to me during today's clinic, after the chat with the orphans and their grandma, I immediately headed over to Dahlia's house. This family certainly still need attention and support and I make it a point to visit them whenever I go to Taiping for my clinic duty. Besides, today there were more reference books I needed to pass to Dilla, the teenage mom, who's planning to sit for her SPM as a private candidate this year. Since there were also contributions of children's books at the Buddies Centre, I brought some along for Dahlia's younger kids.
It was good to get updates from Dahlia on the children's progress. Dilla has started her own revisions at home for her SPM in addition to going for her culinary classes. Her younger brother, Anuar, 15, is also doing well academically despite being very active in sports and cocurricular activities. Dahlia herself has restarted giving tuition at home for a few kids in the neighbourhood, as her source of income in addition to getting monthly welfare aid.
Dahlia told me that both Dilla and Anuar are beginning to put aside a part of their daily pocket money, trying to save money, hoping to get enough capital to one day set up a burger stall in front of their house. Their plan is to study as usual during the day, and sell burgers at night, to get additional income to help out their mother. I told them to concentrate on their SPM and PT3 first this year. Next year, if they want to proceed with their plan, and if they're still short of capital, I may even get some help for them.
I am impressed with their determination and sense of responsibility, without compromising their education. Children like these always inspire me to do whatever I can do to help them achieve their dreams. I look forward to seeing them become successful people one fine day...