I wish he were still around that I could ask him, “Can you stillremember thirteen years ago when I asked for your permission take Ana to stay in our house?” But he has long gone.
It was a hard life for that ex-soldier and family. Pakcik couldnot imagine how Ana, one of his children, could make it in her PMR examination unless she could be spared from having to struggle to share the burden of the family. To earn money the family prepared breakfast foods for sale at a number of the village coffee stalls. Being the only helping hand in the house, Ana had to spend her evenings helping her mother and could only start doing her school work after nine. When other children were still in bed she had to be up by four to finish the final preparation, steaming and frying and wrapping cooked the food in small packages of banana leaves and old newspapers. By six her father had to ride his old motorcycle to deliver the finished products to the coffee stalls ready for villagers to buy on their way home after their ‘subuh’ prayers at the mosques/suraus.
Over the years Ana never failed to regularly attend afternoonclasses at Almanar and had shown to be promising. But it was a job for the little girl to fight her drowsiness and keep her eyes open. It was then Pakcik discovered her problem, and that prompted Pakcik to seek her father’s consent to allow her to stay in our house for the whole of the three months preceding her PMR examination.
What followed is history. Seven years later she turned up at ourhouse to tell us that she had made it. She had graduated from a university. She was no longer the little girl (see my Part 1 of my ‘End of the tunnel’ series posted on 21/6/2008 – click here)
Indeed a lot of water has passed under the bridge. For one thingher dear father has gone. Life is easier for the family. Four years ago she began her career in Tawau as a teacher at a technical college. She did not mind being there as the extra allowance was a big help.
Two months ago, Ana turned up with an invitation card for herwedding. Of course we would never miss that. Yet, while Pakcik was heading for her house with Makcik and two grandchildren, what appeared to be a desparate call came through my hand phone. “ Pakcik, jangan lupa hari kahwin saya hari ni ! “ ( Pakcik, please don’t forgotten my wedding day today !” Did she do that to everyone?
She held my hands tight and released them only to pose for thisphoto.
Today she is a young lady, no longer our adopted little girl.
If only I could hold his father’s hand to say, “ Tahniah !(Congratulations !)”. I can only have prayers in my heart.
I must not forget to note here what I learned from her on oneof her visits to our house a year or so ago. Among the people around her in Tawau she was known to be a good cook. Regularly she prepared ‘nasi dagang Terengganu’ on order. It was an extra income, she said with a smile. And Makcik still remembers today how well Ana could prepare certain ‘kueh’ even when she was a young girl in our house.
( Section II )
Joining the same class Almanar at Form 1 fifteen years ago withAna was another girl we lovingly call Neni. Yesterday, while Pakcik was finishing up this entry she came over. She is two years ahead of Ana. She does not call at our house alone any longer. Yesterday a one-year old boy was tagging along and her husband as well. She is a nurse working in Perlis, and I am pleased to hear that she intends to further her studies. Even on a short three days’ leave home to see her parents she did not fail to call on us.
Can our life be more fulfilling and satisfying than seeing successin these young people? We have our little investment in them.
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan