I don’t know how long the mobile broadband is going to last, so I’d better make it quick. I wish it will entice you to read and share instead of just pressing “like” and go away. We can’t live without your love and I am going to tell you why.
We are very, very lucky that Typhoon Haiyan missed Indonesia; however, it brought about 5 days of constant rain (yes it’s 5 x 24 hours of rain) and our sanctuary is flooded. Ironic, that we are in a hill, but we’re flooded.
Today is the second day that the sun is shining, but we’re covered in mud from top to toe, literally. The Whiskers’ Syndicate and I are covered in mud, literally from head to toe. We can’t go anywhere without skating on the slurry floor and get ourselves dirty, especially when we fell down (happened all the time). We got dirty food, murky water, broken stove, and a washing machine that needs washing. My laptop sits quietly on top of the kitchen cabinet, along with my printer and camera, but all of my Whiskers’ Syndicate’s fliers, post cards, business cards are gone. I have to go to nearby convenient store to charge my cell phone, though the mobile broadband is practically gone (hence I can’t get on line). At least I can still use my phone to call someone if emergency arise.
None the less, we are grateful that we all go through it in one piece. The sick kittens are improving, and it’s my greatest joy to watch them walking slowly into the sun to get some real warmth (instead of emergency lamp). The cleaning job will absolutely drain me out, but I know I will endure because I have the whole world of supporters praying and sending thoughts.
Renovation to the sanctuary is imminent. Without proper drainage, I am not sure how we will survive if the real rainy season arrive (around Christmas) without snorkeling around the house. I will try to gather information on the prices of materials and all, but according to a consultant that I called, it will be near USD 5,000, more or less.
There will be a special fundraiser to donate to once I got the budget ready, and also an online auction to help us renovate our home. If you wish to participate in the fundraiser, please come back in a few days. If you can’t send cash but would like to donate one or two items for the online auction, please send me a message.
If you want to help now? You can. You can click “Pitch In” on that blue box to the right and help us with our under-funded operating budget and jump back in later, or we have a shop: Whiscraft that sells handmade gifts for pets and pets lovers. You can see if some of our items are worthy for your Christmas shopping, and to begin with, there’s Mollie Morrissette, who runs a fabulous blog about poison in pet food and how to avoid it. She recently wrote about us to say that our products are SAVE.
Once upon a time, I read about some people try to rescue others who were pinned inside their car when it crashed. At other time, I read about a bunch of strangers, passers-by, flip a tumbling bus away from a pregnant lady who was about to be flattened when a traffic accident happened just seconds before.
It’s more dramatic – though less real – if I saw those on the movie, but I always admire the sudden burst of heroism that brings back some faith in humanity, though only momentarily. I couldn’t help but imagine how those people, both the saviours and the saved when that happened, and what effect does the event carry upon them, how the moment changed their lives, and those around them.
I wondered if, in my lifetime, such event will come to pass me, though of course, I would brush those thoughts as far away as soon as possible, though perhaps not soon enough, because apparently someone in heaven heard it first.
On any given day, that fated road will look like this:
At the left side of the motorcycle, behind the trees is the one and only Hyatt Hotel Bandung. Next to it is one of the largest mall in town, while across the street on at the right side behind those cars is an army base. Five minutes walk through that road and you will find the magnificent, mayor’s office.
It’s a fancy road, obviously, but like many other street in this resort town, it has no street light. The roadside of a five star hotel and a large army base near mayor’s office doesn’t have street light. It doesn’t have a decent pedestrian either, so we have to walk very close to the cars, or chances are, someone hit you and leave you by because you walk on the street instead of the pedestrian.
Which made of dirt, by the way. So when it’s cloudy night, you’d practice to be a blind man, and when it rains, you practice roller skate on the mud while praying the rosary that you won’t land on your rear.
My night there is a little different. It was raining, and it’s pitch dark except for occasional light from passing cars or motorbikes. I try to walk as carefully as possible by holding on the side of those parking cars, and when I touched a grey metallic Honda Freed, it meows.
I stopped for a while. It was dark and late, and I need to go home before the last public transport passed and I have to walk home alone. A lot of people on the street (chauffeurs, side walk food stall merchant, illegal parking man, or common street punks) used a cat meow or puppy scampers as their cell phone ring tone, often to tease girls (by sounding it under their butt), so I convinced myself that it probably someone teasing a chick, and move on.
But the car meows again, and I am pretty sure that car didn’t use a cat meow as burglar alarm. I walked back and stand by the car’s side, and this time, is convinced that some real cat is stuck somewhere around the car.
I tried using my cell phone as a light to peek inside, but there’s no cat in there. I walk around it and the meow stopped, but as soon as I passed the front it started to meow again.
It dawned on me by then, that I most likely has to peek under the car, but I need someone to watch over me and warn the passing vehicle not to run over me, but although two illegal parking men saw me and – from the look on their eyes – know what I am up to, they just giggle while watching me look around for some more reliable partner in crime.
I decided to go over to the muddy pedestrian and go down on my knee, again, using my cell phone as flash light. Between the low set car and the street, I saw a wisp of white and yellow hair slowly curled upward, vanishing into the car’s engine.
Taking a deep breath, I just wish I didn’t see what I thought I see. I mean, how many people hit their car before going in and turn on their wheeler? Maybe only one out of a million people in Bandung will do that, considering hundreds of tiny news filler in the daily paper talking about X car grinding Y animal and splattered the remains on the street while the driver was busy texting on their IPhone while driving and have to be stopped by ten people to ever notice that something is going hellishly wrong with their vehicle.
A parking man approached and talked to me, as I still sit on my knee, “The cat?”
The? That means he was aware that there’s a cat around the car before but do nothing about it.
I nodded anyway.
“It’s been there crying, since dusk”, he said again.
Dusk was 3 hours ago.
“You wanna pick that kitten? White and yellow, this big” he showed me his hand.
“Yeah but I have to crawl under there to retrieve it” I am sure the owner of the car won’t appreciate their fun in the mall, or hotel, being cut by a car call, and about a street kitten sneaking into the engine.
“You sure fit in there, I am too big” that man laughed. His eyes glinted with the prospect of watching a woman with jeans crawling on her tummy under his crotch.
“You sure are, haha” I was trying to make my short laugh as despising as possible.
But I crawl under there anyway, while watching the man’s leg. I am preparing to go out of there as soon as his leg moved away; but when I am halfway in there, the car start rocking hard. It’s low set didn’t leave plenty of room for me and the lower part of the engine hit my head several time.
Standing on the street, the parking man is rocking the car while laughing out loud. “Did the pussy go up or down?” he asked. He used just the exact word in Indonesian. “Pussy” if you know what I am talking about.
What I saw in that chaos, was a kitten, trying to cling for life at the side of some engine (not sure which one, it’s dark), as his tiny body swings in rhyme with the car. I flashed my cell phone toward the kitten, still hit several time on the head by the car, but the glint of the kitten’s eyes is enough to give me a clue where exactly he is.
I know my leg is right beside the parking men, so I retracted it completely under the car, and kick his ankle with every bit of anger I have inside.
He swore, and after swearing some more, I saw him leaving, when the street is glowing bright.
A car is passing.
I won’t count on that man to warn the car that one of my legs are still in the open, and I can’t shift under the car fast enough before the car hit, so I hang onto a bar of steel and drag myself completely in.
The car passed, and I am still in one piece, though crumpled under a car with a frightened kitten that frantically trying to climb further into the engine.
There’s no way I am going to let my ordeal pass in vain. I am not going to crawl back out and face that parking man with nothing in my hand.
So I reached out, and grab his tail. The kitten is more frantic, and he claw on my hand all over but I am not going to let go. Thank God He didn’t make cat’s tail expandable like gecko.
I hold on that bar above me again and use it to shift closer to the kitten, and use the other hand to grab on his tummy and tug it off the engine, at all cost.
It fell right onto my face.
It’s closer for me to shift to the pedestrian and get out from there than back on the street. Besides, I won’t know when a car will pass or some party maniacs stomp all over me.
I got out from the muddy pedestrian, with the cat in one hand and mud on the other, as well as everywhere, including my hair.
The funny thing is? As soon as I hold him close to me, he fell silent. I saw him watching me with a big, round terrified eyes, but he fell silent.
I push him inside my jacket, stand up, and start walking. I forgot I was on my way to get some food, though I doubt anyone want to sell their food to a muddy woman. I’d be lucky if people won’t think of me as a crazy man.
Gathering my courage, I walked to the nearby mall, with a kitten inside my jacket. As expected, the security tried to stand on my way, but I told him I fell from my motorcycle because it’s dark and slippery, and if possible, I want to use the (paid) toilet inside the mall to clean myself.
He made some way, and I rushed to the nearest toilet.
So that’s how the kitten earned his name: Freed.
I had Estebel still nursing at that time, but I intended to hand raise the kitten because it’s older than Estebel’s and I am not sure she wants a stranger, but Freed took over from there.
I don’t know how he got up there, but he leaned on resting Estebel and they chattered for a good two hours. I was eavesdropping, of course, but I still didn’t have any idea what they are talking about but some purrs and short meow.
The next day Freed got himself bourne identity:
He become part of the Whiskers’ Syndicate as if he was born into us no other way.
I still hold a grudge for Honda to ever make a car so lowly set, though I know Indonesian worshipped Toyota Alphard (hence the other manufacturer made cars that look like it), but just in case heaven is still listening, I don’t wish to crawl under a car to retrieve a cat ever again.
A Hollywood thriller doesn’t always need a sequel.
Normally I didn’t celebrate birthdays. Families still send me greetings but I don’t usually go to a restaurant, or buy something for myself, or get my self plenty of attention. Surprises come once in a while, but my birthday this year brought so many unprecedented surprises that I have to share just a little bit more, as a formal gratitude to all involved, and to Our Father in Heaven who send hordes of gracious people for me to stumble upon.
The first gift I received came far before my birthday from a fellow crafter Andrea. She sent me a few precious jewellery from her charity shop.
Very flattering message
But that’s not yet all the magic, but we will get there near the bottom.
Then comes a sweet surprise from Germany:
The 24th of October is my youngest brother’s birthday. God is playing games with my mother. Her first child (me) is born on Oct 25 first thing in the morning (just a minute pass midnight!) and her last child (my youngest brother) was born on Oct 24 at the end of the day. No one in my family notice, but I have God that works mysterious way, so I just laugh it off.
That’s not my point. I am working late that day and my cell phone has been vibrating almost non stop. I thought it was broken, though seriously I don’t expect a brand new cell phone broke that easily.
I was shocked to see almost 60 notification in my facebook personal page or The Syndicate’s page, and since I am unpopular, I thought someone is spamming the facebook, or that it’s petition day or something the like. I learned later on that it was the mischief of my sister at heart, who posted a challenge on FB, saying she will donate $1 to The Whiskers’ Syndicate for each birthday gift on the The Whiskers’ Syndicate facebook page:
Throughout that day and beyond (since Indonesia is at least 12 hours advanced from USA and Europe) the two posts, along with shares from my other sister Ekeim Teeuwise and EFA team mate Elizabeth Ruffing (she made cutest slug toys in the world!), set my personal and Whiskers’ Syndicate’s page on fire with birthday wishes, some brought in friends that I never knew is on FaceBook, and many other from complete stranger, who generously shared Lori’s challenge without knowing who I am or what I do. Perhaps what they know is that the wish will help feed hungry kitties, but their wishes made my heart bloom and make a stranger happy on her birthday is still a charity.
A package from Japan:
People often mistaken me for a boy because they heard my late father calling me “my son” while it is actually “my sun” which give idea to my uncles and aunt for the package and it’s wishes “for our sunshine”.
The weirdest phone call comes from the post office. They want to deliver a package from Australia (guess who?) but my door is locked and I am not home the whole day so they ask me what to do. I picked the package up during my break time and get another gift from my Australian parents:
There they go mummy! Flying free on top of my bed!
My mother’s butterflies made me smile, the last sentence in her card (above all those kisses) sent me to tears. Away from my family for a very long time, and live in a hostile community devoid of seeds of virtue, her heart felt expression is the warmth of the sun touching a frozen ice desert.
My Indonesian mother sent a smiling bomb:
The wrap is a humble, plain, printing paper with the message hand written with pen right on top, but it hides another big surprise from one of my brothers (not the one who celebrate his birthday on Oct 24):
Lenovo Ideaphone S 890 is the most recent issue (launched January 2013) from the ex-IBM bought by China and it’s yet to enter Indonesia. My brother was abroad so he didn’t know that I already bought myself a cell phone, however, this one has dual sim card so I can connect and call simultaneously. I am sure he consider this phone because he knows that I spend the whole day on the street. Still, it’s a nice and generous gift from afar!
Coming next is my American “mother”:
And a long time friend, back to my Care2 days:
Then entered a long silence over the cell phone, and I think the party is over. By late night Oct 26 (11:02 pm as indicated by my post below) the fund raiser stopped at USD 669 out of USD 700, and I think I will end the month as is.
Now, remember my friend Andrea, who started all this up there? She left this for me to find the next morning:
While I am sleeping, she covers what is left to fund raise for Whiskers’ Syndicate, and by doing so, ending the birthday bash that sent me shock waves across three days.
Not really though, there’s another one:
I thought that dried orchid was dead (see the leaves), but I keep it anyway and water it every day, and it gives me a full bloom on the 25th.
The name of the orchid? Golden shower.
A divine message from above that made my day.
Oh, and just in case everyone is wondering what I did on my birthday?
I worked double shift during the weekend (24 – 27 Oct 2013) to pay USD 350 mortgage due on Nov 5 🙂
There’s an ancient Japanese saying that when someone going to die, his or her life is played before them.
I am not going to die, but every year on my birthday, my life replayed before me, and along with each moment, my gratitude is overflowing to those who crosses over my path and send me strength to climb every mountain.
Below is only a tiny part of them, but you are all welcome to taste the joys of my path along animal rescue, and all the blessings I have been abundantly showered in the forms of friends and supporter around the globe.
Happy many returns of the day, I think I know where that saying is coming from.