On rainy days like these I’ll look at the sky from the safety of my home.
Thinking of those trying the hardest to stay dry in the parking lot, praying for those on their way to do so.
Thinking of those in roofless parks, praying for those who can only find sewer lids, drippy trees, or nowhere to go, even.
Thinking of those, tucked away in the landfill behind the terminal where we can see The Maj that touch the silver sky from the hillside of Bandung uptown, where the upper class hunkered down in their villas, mansions, surrounded with their china, pearls, gold.
Praying that the tiny shelter a man and his wife built would last, and that the kitties be good and let their companions cram beside them, as much as those little boxes will hold.

He has a small shop a few steps away from the landfill, where his wife would come near midday with food for him, and food for the cats.
That small cube where he bid for better living is the furthest on earth, so far no one would go, but closest to heaven.

His shop is like Noah’s Ark for those dumped to the landfill. Healthy cats, sickly seniors, starving teens, pregnant mothers, kittens who know nothing better; often those only a few days or a few hours into the world that comes mysteriously in boxes.

From my place to theirs is a long way, but as much as I can I’d make the journey: with medicine, with food, with life support. Towels, old shirts, baskets, bowls, plastic sheet. The excess money I seldom have will usually go to the nearest building material shop to expand the cat apartment that they – ironically – built right across The Maj.

There is always someone dying there, or two, or three. There is always stories of an hours-old baby put in the box and slipped into the shop whenever no one is looking. There is always someone who is terrified, there is always someone who come into talks and is said to walk away and never seen again.

It’s getting harder and harder for us, with people not caring about how we would fare with so many they pushed into our hands, often with force, with cheats, and lies.

But trying not to think about it and be brought down, half of our Cherie cans will see them. It’s a tiny offer for those who were dumped and lost their faith. It’s a little soothing mend for those who were left there for nature to take its course and was heartbroken. It’s to keep the hope in the tiny new lives who probably will never know that the world can be a better place, though we cannot say “it’s just not your time and luck” to those tiny bead eyes that look into ours with wonder.

It’s a distraction for the bunch of them when we secretly picked those beyond the red line and hold them in a hidden corner, the one in our arms walks into the bosom of God, and another one of us will hide our tears with shovel in our hand, somewhere closer to the landfill.

All said and done, I will shake the man’s hand and his wife’s, with a smile in our lips, though it’s only for a little while, and once more I will look around at these cats, because when I am back there they probably will no longer be there.

And then I will turn my back, walking away with no hesitation, because I would rather keep my cry alone.

~ Josie T Liem

Cherie Food Challenge is still good until March 25th.
One Dollar per can, and Cherie will donate another can for every can we purchase. Go here to buy these cats a little hope:

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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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