Sunday, March 01, 2009

Iwan; vaccination


With Min’s brother-in-law Gani, I took Min for a walk in the direction of leper Iwan’s house.

"How’s the vegetable cart?" I asked.

"Min’s dad was out selling vegetables when he got robbed," said Gani. "Someone suddenly grabbed the cash box and ran off."

"During Ramadan?"

"People need money for the Idul Fitri holiday," said Gani.

"Is Min’s dad OK?"

"He’s got over it."

"And how’s Min getting on?" I asked.

"Fine."

Min chose that moment to spit in the direction of my face and giggle wildly. It was one of his hyperactive days and he was being playful.

"Min, don’t do that," said Gani gently. As I had observed before, Indonesians usually try the gentle approach with children.

We reached the scavengers’ kampung and found Iwan limping around outside his hut.

"You got your leprosy pills from the hospital didn’t you?" I asked, after we had greeted each other.

"Yes," said Iwan. "But remember that time you took me out of the hospital? The doctor was very angry about that. They nearly refused to see me this time."

"Are you going to your kampung in Karawang at Idul Fitri?" I asked Iwan.

"Yes."

"Make sure you’re back in time for your next lot of medicine," I said.

Iwan nodded.

Back at Min’s house I spoke to Wati, Min’s mum, who was washing clothes in an old plastic bucket.

"When Min was living at Dr Bahari’s clinic," I said, "I had Min vaccinated against typhoid and tetanus. Have the rest of the family been vaccinated?"

"Vaccinated?" asked Wati.

Gani explained what I was getting at.

"No, not yet," said Wati.

"You should all be vaccinated," I said. "If I give you the money will you go to the clinic?"

"Yes," said Wati, as she accepted a little bundle of rupiahs.

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