March 9th, 2005

Today's food

My friend Khadijah came round to see me this morning. She is actually a voluntary worker who is a 'helper' so that poliphilo  can gat a break.  She often brings her eldest daughter Faiza who dotes on  poliphilo  and follows him around so he may get a break from me but gains a 10 year old.

I've been helping her with an assignment for college she's doing a certificate in child day care - which she already works at.  English is the 5th language she's learnt and although fluent she does mix up words sometimes and her grammar is all over the place.

She's started opening up to me about her family and friends recently.  She herself is married to a white guy - who'se a muslim and has a different name at home than outside.  They (or rather she) own 2 houses - so one of them is in his English name and she is considered a single parent.    His work is as a roofer and he gets paid cash in hand - but I don't think he claims benefits.  She works at the childcare job and as a care worker in Social Services homes (usually with 2 or 3 people in) for people with learning difficulties.  She is certainly a hard worker - and of course there's me as her voluntary work.

One of her friends - whom I've met a lot is a lovely girl -  married with 2 sons.  Her husband is on drugs.  He works at a takeaway and signs on the dole.  He's just gone back to Pakistan for 3 months leaving her with no money and Social Security looking into whether they are fiddling the system or not.  She gets no money from him and so claims what she can.  Khadijah has this woman looking after her 1 year old child - which she does very well.  Instead of paying her - usually the husband would just take the money off her for drugs - she pays her in heat - they spend a  lot of time at Khadijah's where the heating is on rather at home where there isn't any.  Khadijah lets her cook her meals there - with foodstuffs already in the cupboard and she buys school clothes for the 2 boys.  Khadijah buys most of her stuff at charity shops so she buys good makes for very little.  She's very astute with money.

The Pakistanis have a bad name over here for claiming all the benefits that they can and 'working' the system.  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  They live in substandard housing - usually because they owe money for getting over here and buying a place - which they have to pay back as fast as they can.   For a number of years they live very hand to mouth - they can't get a mortgage or a loan because it isn't allowed in the Koran.  The Koran doesn't allow birth control but many of them use it now I think.  At least they are still family orientated and look after their old folks - without resentment due to their upbringing.  Which is more than I would with my parents.

Other than this I've done very little again today.  Oh  I did manage to do some exercise on both my elliptical walker and my stepper.  I want an exercise bike but can't justify the cost - but I think it would do my knees good.  So far this week after the doctor telling me I had to increase my swimming to 3 times a weel I haven't been once.  _ oh well he did say he rarely takes his advice either!

Breakfast:  cottage cheese & fresh pineapple

Lunch:  chicken salad, pear & orange, kinder egg

Evening:  Porridge

Snack:  Mini salami sticks

Drinks:  2 large decaf coffees, 1 pint slimline tonic water, 1 pint iced water.


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