Will of Fire

Let me tell you a secret.

We’ve been trying to raise USD 5,600 since December, and despite millions of stories over the internet that people raise hundred of thousands of Dollars within one day, we are still less than halfway there well into January, despite exhausting every effort we can think of.

So, putting USD 3,000 in Pitch in is probably too much for people to bear; and when they think it’s too much, they skip the game, and find something else easier to attain. To show that three thousand Dollars is indeed attainable, and to make sure we can start rebuilding our sanctuary by February, our friend Lori divided it into the remaining days of January and come up with USD 250/day. I trusted her fully, and so let the math escape me.

In light of her generosity, our friend Susan Edwards had offered to match USD 100 donation last Friday (Saturday my time), which ease the burden a lot because we practically only need to raise half the amount of our daily goal. It means a lot for us, especially because the day before, we didn’t earn anything. Nothing. It’s zero all day long.

That same day, I kind of figure out that I blew my chance of hiring a Squarespace developer who can help with the new website, owing to my plummeting self worth and confidence, given she just ignore me and never again replied my email after she herself offered some schedule to chat online to discuss about what is best for the Syndicate’s website.

Unfortunately, until a few hours before midnight PST, the latest time zone in USA, we are not even half where we want to, and I start wondering if we are going to make it. It’s raining the whole day for 2 days that day, and while I was exhausted for trying to lift tons of sandbag with one and a half hands (my right wrist is bad), and try to keep water away from the house, ending up staying awake and working for more than 38 hours already, I still try to use what was left of my brain that is still functioning to rally for help.

Until the last two hours, we are USD 30 short of meeting the challenge. I know my chances are grim, but I tried anyway. It’s not over until the fat lady sing.

I have got that one burst of joy when one friend donated USD 20 less than an hour before midnight PST (thank you Belle!).

Afterwards, it’s over. People are sleeping, or elsewhere enjoying their weekend, when the remaining hope that I cling for my life start to crumble.

Even when offered to do only half the effort, we cannot make it.

Ten minutes later, there’s nothing left of my confidence, or hope.

I failed. Ten more dollars, and I failed. We’re dead on our last step before finish line, and as I saw Elf’s round eyes watching me on the rim of the bed, I kind of lost of how to answer his telepathic question.

And then it’s dark.

I woke up to Elf crying on top of my arm, and Ami tugging my ear, something he always does if I didn’t wake up after the alarm stop ringing. Looking through my painful eyes, I saw the door of my room flung open and some of the cats who doesn’t stay in the cage were lining up staring at me with wonder in their eyes. My door doesn’t have any handles on it, so it can’t be locked. It can be closed, but there is one mobster: Estebel, who can see past the mental barrier of a shut door, and use her nose to push it bit by bit until it’s opened.

Nice team work everyone. You’ll get extra food for that.

I noticed that it’s still raining outside, everything is grey. I lazily turned over on my bed, but I can’t feel anything. I am blank.

I stand up, walk through the cats, feed them, clean litter boxes, fill water bowl, clean the house, and find myself, who knows how long, staring blankly holding the window.

When I figured out what to do with the window, I walked in, straight to the room, close the door, sit on the bed, and stare blankly, trying to figure out what to do.  I read Susan’s message to tell everyone that anonymous donor decide to fill in the 10, and sent me 110.

I do what she said, but then, nothing more. There is this passing ray of gratitude for her wisdom to waive the USD 10, though it didn’t change the fact that I failed. I did everything, but still, I failed.

And then I am back on the blank. I did not feel anything. I am not tired, I am not sleepy, I am not hungry, I am not thirsty, I do not feel hate, or anger, or love, or hope, or sadness, nothing. Like the constant rain and the perpetual greyness outside, I am zombified for the rest of the day, with the only emotions I felt were devastation, dejection, resentment, guilt, and a huge boulder with a taste of failure. When some of the cats are fighting I went outside, approach them, pet them, but I don’t feel anything. I know the cats were looking at me curiously because I am different, but I just turn away, back to my room, sitting on the same spot and stare blankly toward the empty, white wall of my room.

Among those time, my mind was taken to the past when I was still a writer for MultiMedia RolePlaying Game forum. We were four, and I usually wrote the story board and profiling the characters, with ideas from the other three. One of them is a boy from California who matched me so well, that we are clicked from week one although we have not yet known each other that much. As we work together I learned that, and it taken my breath knowing, that he was still 13, while I was on my mid twenties.

He was the middle child of three, all boys, of a prominent leader of USA’s largest chemical company. His parents were busy all day, and he is often alone at home, which is why he can spend so many times in the internet, and is much more mature despite his age. I mean, seriously, we are free to talk about nano technology from many different point of view like we are a pair of scientists in some lab.

Soon our relationship expanded from merely team mate, as we chat all day long and I use the time to help him with homework, sandwich, salads, and girls. Those were my happiest moments after I lost my father.

One of our favourite story, among a few, is an adventure of a “dead last” and “outcast” ninja in his class, who strive for acknowledgement and respect from his peers. He went as far as to make this goal his “Will Of Fire” a concept that give him strength to continue fighting against all odds, building willpower and strength of character.

With him graduating and into Senior High, the other two members went to college and registered with USAF,  I moved to Bandung and started The Whiskers’ Syndicate, and following an unfortunate event, the group was eventually (amicably) disbanded as we walk our separate ways through the path of life.

Still, I cannot come to think of anything, or feel anything, though  I start to question if each of us, especially me, still keep that same “Will of Fire” or if that fire (most likely) have disappeared following my consecutive failure in defending The Whiskers’ Syndicate, something that have an immense value for me. As I wander around the house hoping to find something to break my numbness and spark my interest, I always find myself back on the same spot, sitting on my bed, staring blankly to the empty, white wall of my room,  where a demon came and sit beside me to tell me about whatever I felt: abandoned, failed, thrown away, nothing. It went on to show me that in the place I am going, there is only the gritting pain of loneliness, the coldness of desperation, the soreness of calling out to deaf ears, the degradation of trying to grab someone’s hand, anyone, only to be pushed away like a disease, the silence of isolation.

It went on to tell me that I am not loved, citing evidence that in fact, none of the people I called “friends” are there for me at the moment. None of them even realize that I am not present. Then it told me that soon the community will fail me and throw me away, even though I work hard to hold it up with my two hands, given that although I try to be courteous, honest, humble, and kind, people still treat me like garbage.

Do unto others, what thy want others to do unto thee (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31)

is a factual bull shit.

It said that if God really loves me, as much as I love Him, He would have answered my faith and will not let all those cats I love so much suffer for so long.

That night I remembered part of a song that was famous long ago:

Objects in the rear view mirror appear closer than they are

The next day I saw Constantine.

Constantine

Constantine is a senior cat that I found lying on the street awaiting his death from losing a fight last year. He is so old he can’t sit, stand or walk straight. He walks almost sideways, like a crab. His spine bent to one side, his body frail, and he walks slower than a turtle.

Every time I put the food bowl on the floor, all of the cats went flying trying to get the first bite. Constantine will walk slowly, leaning to the side wall along the backyard to the cattery, struggled to climb up, and find whatever left by the younger, faster, stronger cats.

Sometimes he gets something, sometimes he doesn’t. When he didn’t find anything left he will struggle to go down, walk painfully slowly back to the house, sit under the window, waiting for my head to poke up, and then he will open his mouth and let out his coarse, dried up, ugly meow, asking for food.

And yet, even when I try to hold him down and give him his own bowl so he doesn’t have to go through the ordeal, he walks anyway. He’d sniff from one bowl to another, risking some impudent younger cat clawing on his nose, and when one does, he walk over to the other.

When he finally sure there isn’t any left, he’ll go back to the bowl I set aside for him, if it’s not already finished by someone else. Then he’ll go through his window ritual.

He is one of the cats I am most proud of. He is old, battered, and beaten, yet holds his pride high enough to fetch his own food, whether or not he is going to get one.

It is that golden in him that make me give the name of my favourite (Marvel) character: Constantine.

I turned away, walk into my room, sit on the same spot and staring blankly at the empty white wall inside my room.

So, maybe, I will try once more. There is no guarantee that I will get the pot of gold at the other side. Maybe I will just find some crumb, and go back home hungry, but I guess, perhaps, when that happen, I can just do that window ritual, just in case there’s some fish falling from there.

Just in case, but who knows. It’s not over until the fat lady sing; and there’s no other lady in this house so…

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Quest 2 Canaan (1)

I looked at the clock. It’s 10:40. The day had certainly run so fast, but I still have a few more thing to do. In the backyard, The Whiskers’ Syndicate had started to snooze. Some silhouette still pops up and turn, looking around, and small shadows are galloping against the two lamps that are left lightening. Though I don’t know who are still playing this late at night, but it seems like, they haven’t run out of battery.

Ten days ago, we started our repairs, with around 500 short of the full fund we need. I can’t wait any longer. The days had turned from thee storms a week into five, and as we sink deeper into the rainy season that will end next April, there will be more to come. So while we still have the sun, I’d start the repair anyway.

A few men who comes through some recommendations never made it near the contract. Either I hate them or the cats were too horrified of them. Construction is still the world of Mars(es) here, and like Mars, they live in the space where woman is not suppose to know or able to do what they can, so woman should shut up and sit nicely.

Not this woman, though. I inquire in detail of what they are capable of doing and how they do it. What are their education background, and if their past clients are reputable. Most, like I thought, learn it from experience. Engineering school is expensive, plus, that stereotype that men should be Supermen in order to not being humiliated (or have the right to boast) to their women.

Well, not this woman.

When I finally grow tired of fruitless search, I turned to my feet, and go from company to company and give them my situation, my budget, and see how they handle it on paper. Most just show me beautiful designs with hundreds of million to build, the other has no clue. Except for the last two.

When the second before last entered my house, they find it very clean. Nothing. No dust, no trash, no furniture;

No cats.

Even I think it’s too darn quiet.

I tried talking to them in the backyard as they told me their plan, but it’s so very quiet you can hear the wind.

I saw Bobtail, Kansai and some others peeked on me with huge, round eyes, crumpled together under the bamboo bushes, and those eyes sent me their message. As I guide them out of the house, I saw others, under the lemon tree, behind the washing machine, and bury themselves under the laundry, and they all echoes the same message.

“We hate them”

Sure, I have to listen. Those people are going to spend quite a good amount of time in my house so I don’t want to torment the cats more than I am now with the lack of drainage and incapability to raise fund. Besides, though I earned my Bachelor degree in Psychology with flying colours from one of the best university in the country, those cats are better psychologist than I am.

And heck there are 50 of them telling me the same thing.

A week later there’s another. I kind of think that they failed too, I give up, and just called the developer’s repairmen.

Cooper peeked out, stare at them with his high and mighty eyes, and jumped out leisurely trotting toward us.

At first I thought he lost his mind, but more follows after him, and some of the cats ended up sniffing their boots or just sit a little bit to the side and watch, but not with that huge, round eyes crumpled together like grapes.

So we made a deal, and the work started after Chinese New Year.

We started by clearing out the wild jungle:

Then we dig some trench for a foundation of the corridor.

We are going to close up part of the left side of the backyard and turn it into a corridor, so I don’t have to be Mary Poppins who jumps and skips through the backyard with an umbrella and a basket of cat food every time it rains.

And then, it will add some space for the cats to hang out in the cool of the highland’s rain without having to rush and cram themselves in the cattery.

We will move the water tower to the other side, so it’s more spacious. We will leave the lemon tree and have a void in the middle of the corridor for air, and for my personal fear that those manly guys will rip the lemon tree apart if we move them and it will be dead. I love lemons, and look at those juicy rounds hanging on the branches like Christmas ornaments!

Actually, it’s just me being a romantic. When we first moved into the house, I planted a small lemon tree that later become the kittens’ favourite toy, before it grow thorns. When the tree became “untouchables” the cats like to lounge about under its shade, and the lemon tree become our backyard icon. It survived the flood that first swept us in 2012, and now it is the sole survivor of the two floods in November and December 2013.

With time, the lemon tree represent the harshness with which life come to us, and embodies the spirit, perseverance and faith that we keep as we continue our journey, and the hope that like the lemon tree now, our effort will be abundantly fruitful .

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The new water tower will be there

The water tower is as iconic as the lemon tree on its own history. We got it with a grant from SPCA International when they choose us as Shelter Of The Month in August 2012, when we moved into the house and by then haven’t got running water.

There is a question of why I insist the corridor to be on the left side of the backyard. Isn’t it just easier if we just make it on the left? Cut the bamboos and we have one straight line, clean and clear.

This is my answer:

hook

There’s a small hook at the left side of the wall, and at first it was covered with wire mesh so cats can’t go out to the street through the roof. However, more and more cats grow out the makeshift cat fence and use the hook as climbing point to go out. It is all right if they just lounge on the roof, either ours or the neighbours; but I will be in trouble if they decide to roam the valley not far behind the sanctuary, or worse, to the front and onto the street.

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Rexie II climbed from the hook, walking around the perimeter of the house and lounged on the other side of the house

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Blossom followed suit

If I made the corridor on the right side for convenience, I will have to spend more money fencing the hook, so I just make the corridor on the right side and the roof of the corridor will block their way up to the roof, and since there will be nothing on the right side to be used as a stepping stone, cats won’t go out and onto the street, and I can work in peace.

So… we put down the tank…

moving the torrent

Move the tower to the other side…

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And voila…

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So far so good.

Next?

We’re doomed.

No kidding, we’re doomed. But that’s another post. Just hang in there for a second and we’ll get there in the second part.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

 

The destiny’s calling

One thing that I hate the most about this thunderstorms and crazy rain is that turn me into horrific looking creature.

When rain came pouring suddenly, cats will frantically try to run away from their playground. Some retain their sanity and run toward the house, while the others were distraught enough to run toward their damaged cattery, and trapped there with millions of leaks across the cattery’s roof to shower them, and a few waterfalls flowing from the  sides of the cattery that render them helpless as they have no where else to run.

Every time it happens I will come pick them up and carry them one by one from the cattery to the house, holding an umbrella in one hand and the cat in the other, walking back and forth through muddy backyard until there are none.

During the travel if the cat is calm enough to be carried at my side, they will just stay put. If they are too terrified and lost their mind, all the way through that 40 feet long backyard they will be yelling, clawing and biting me, leaving many bloody wounds that often give me scar mark on my arms, side and neck, sometimes my ears and cheek.

The creature that I try so hard to protect and rescue, are fighting so hard against me.

Then to make things worse my mother will nya nya on the phone whenever she has chance reminding me that I am a woman and a woman supposed to have a flawless skin instead of stripes all over. She will continue to complain about how I should take care of myself to the point that I almost lost control. And we know mothers. No point talking against them because they will just go round and find yet another reason to nya nya nya on us.

There is one solution for that though, but I don’t want to go around my house handling cats while dressing up like Sir Galahad.

On those days the only thing I can do is go out of the house to cool myself down, sometimes by leaving my cell phone at home so I don’t have to pick any call or answer any messages until my head cools down.

And then on one of those days, while sitting in a public transport, I saw a white and tabby cat lying on its side on the pedestrian under a garbage drum.

Since the traffic was so terrible I have no trouble jumping off the car and straight to the cat. He was thin and cold and lifeless, and I know that whatever I do, he probably don’t have much time left, so I just rap him in my jacket and walk away from the main road, where I can cradle and comfort him as he made his journey across.

He done so immediately, and very quickly, after he turn to see my face and meet my eyes. There was a glint of gladness pass through his dilated eyes, before he turned back and gone for good.

It will take hours if I take another bus home, so I walk with a dead cat in my hand for the whole hour, trying to converse with God on His reason sending a cat my way only to die in my arm minutes later.

I got home with a self-found understanding that perhaps that cat’s last wish is to know how it feels to have someone who love him, and since I am nearest to the location He dispatched me to answer the call and for that, I am honoured.

Unfortunately the long walk made me late for my physiotherapy appointment, so I have to take another queue and in effect, get back home even later at night. I don’t worry so much because although it’s the last bus, the route I take is never empty and the roads it passed is always crowded.

It was magical when at one point on my way, that crowded road is suddenly quiet for a few minutes, and we all hear a kitten’s loud cry for help.

It’s not just my imagination. I look around and saw everyone is stunned for a while that moment, as the car glides on and left the pitiful cry vanish further back.

The first to react is a young woman sitting beside me. She went straight back to her Blackberry and type as if nothing happened.

The next is me. I said ” Driver sir, please pull over as fast as you can, but do it safely”

So for the second time that day I jumped off  midway; but as I walked back to the place where we heard the cry, I found nothing.

I thought I stopped at the wrong place, so I continue walking, back and forth around three or four times but lost the voice.

Then the rain start to fall, and if I don’t jump on the next vehicle I will have to walk back home under showering rain in the dark cold night.

I whispered “Anyone called 112 My Lord?” (112 is Indonesia’s 911).

I stopped at the porch of a closed shop,  pulls out my rain coat, and caught a glimpse of a rolling tennis ball a few meters ahead.

Curiosity kills the cat (lady) so I walk closer and seemingly found the yelling culprit. A kitten as big as a tennis ball that’s not even able to see clearly yet.

The transport was coming so I just pick it up and put it into my bag, when a homeless woman passed behind me and say “There were two”

I lift myself up and replied “There’s only one, where’s the other?”

The woman laughed, and continue walking.

To stay (and look for the other kitten) or not to stay (and catch the last bus) that’s the question.

I stayed. I look around and under food stalls nearby but I found nothing. The baby in my backpack cried several time but no answer, so after a half an hour going round the place I put on my jacket and start walking; when I heard a familiar voice calling behind me

“Hey, are you coming?”

I look around and saw a bus driver grinning behind his steering wheel. I used his route very often that he knows me.

“I thought the other one was the last bus” I told him as I climb up.

“Yeah, the traffic, and this is the end of the holiday season. Every bus is 30 mins off schedule”

I sit on the empty bus, and remember my self- found knowledge that morning. Maybe the baby asked for just one more chance to be heard, and I am honoured to answer the call.

So where’s the baby?

SAM_0042

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Brand New Breeze

original version of a feature on EFA/Etsy For Animal’s Blog

Dec 31,2013

 

As days became weeks, and advanced us towards the end of the month and year… we’d like to say that we’ve been carried away by the rush of the festive season, and especially for us, for me, this one Christmas had brought us to a higher plane.

We are so grateful to have been nominated, and chosen as EFA’s December Charity Of The Month, during which we were given the chance to experience a higher level of the Spirit of the Season.

In such a drive to raise the urgent fund for our sanctuary, which was damaged by recent storm, EFA also started a separate emergency fund raiser (for two more holding cages) which reached its goal in just one day, and continued to grow… the excess funds were transferred over to the general repair PitchIn fund raiser – thank you so much !

In the other side, our sister Lori work endlessly to reach out through our Facebook page; that a place usually as quiet as grave, now so bright and bustling, though probably not as hectic as the shopping malls at the end of the year.

Another sister, Ekeim, silently put her charms to work and get us a chance for an online auction to benefit The Whiskers’ Syndicate starting January 2014.

I am sure none of our blog post missed Care2News because another angel: Christine Steward, never forget to share each and every one of our adventures in Care2.

All of those will not be successful without you: our blog readers, our FB fans, our Google circle, and a few good men who share our story.

The magic is: all of those happened when I sustain wrist injury that render me unable to write properly and have to struggle even to finish one order from our Etsy shop.

Never in our lives we saw a response so quick, and with such compassion that our friends and family literally shifted from their currents and rushed to our aid. Never in our lives we experience such bond in which the whole team is no longer individuals that move toward the same goal, or people that share common love toward cats, but as a band of brothers and sisters, that stand and fall together, as one. It is at that moment that we can feel how powerful, united, and grand we all if each of us is willing to spend a little, even if it’s only sharing our story.

And so at the end of this season, as we embrace the New Year with the hope of better fares in our lives… as a person, as a member of our community, and overall as part of society, please allow us to humbly bow our gratitude to all of you. Each of the donations that were Pitched In are golden rays of the newly born sun to us as we too continue our journey.

The path we have to take is still long. Our fund raise is still far from done… and even today, stray, feral, abused and neglected cats (and several other animals) that called our sanctuary home are still seeking heaven’s approval for a better place to stay. While we will no longer have the privilege of being EFA’s COTM, we invite you to share the remaining of this journey together.

We have an online auction to benefit Whiskers’ Syndicate, courtesy of Auction for small rescues worldwide in facebook. If you have something new, or nearly new, that you would like to send away, you are invited to donate it for auction on our behalf. If you are on facebook just go to the link above and register yourself, and post the picture of your item(s) along with a clear description and price. Tell your friends and family about this great thing you do, and ask them to share your story so that people can join the auction and bid on your item. Kindly remember to mention that your item is to benefit The Whiskers’ Syndicate.

If you need something to buy and want it cheap and in good condition, you are also welcome to go to the link above and see if you are interested in something. Charity auctions usually sell good things in great price.

If you are not on Facebook but would like to donate items to the auctions, just contact us and we will come to you with all the requirements and post on your behalf.

We hope that the spirit with which we are showered this month can be carried over to the new Charity of The Month, and that every laughter, tears, loss, and gains during this magical season stays in all our hearts for a long long time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. This year, the star of Bethlehem is you.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

I’ve got a little angel falling from the sky last October, when I did some errands and was waiting for the next bus to come.

A man was strutting his brand new 250cc sports motorcycle (seriously, a racer motorbike to use in congested streets in Bandung?) and has been blowing the gas over and over to draw attention.

Eventually, on certain blow, the corner of my eyes caught a glimpse of a ball shaped shadow falling from the sky, right in front of the incoming bus, and catch it in reflex.

In my arms, a startled kittens stared blankly at me as the motorcycle continue to show off and while trying to make his way through the traffic jam. When the kitten finally realize that he landed on a wrong place, he tried frantically to get off my hand, and his unpredictable jerks gave me such trouble that I ended up twisted my right wrist trying to hold him from being crushed by the bus.

I pushed him into my bag because the sprain weaken my hold, and go away from the terminal as far as I can, then after he calmed down a little, I re-open my bag and try to dig for some pocket cat food, only to find out that I ran out of it already, and left with one bottle of Kewpie baby food that I just bought to feed sick kittens at home.

CODFISH TUNA AND VEGETABLE RISOTTO 1

I was kind of worried that he didn’t like it, but my laugh breaks loose when, out if his impatience, the tiny kitten didn’t wait until I come up with a small spoon, and instead tried to drill his head into the bottle for an immediate hunger relief, and as he did so, drill his cave into my heart.

Kewpiekewpie gendong

and Kewpie is his name

Kewpie did well as soon as he gets into the Whiskers’ Syndicate, although the vets told me that he got a terrible state of gastrointestinal condition, probably because he was separated from his mother too early and too long.

Unfortunately, Bandung still doesn’t have enough technology to address his problem and bring him back to health. Severe malnourishment had damaged Kewpie’s fragile system and that it’s possible that his days is not very much left because as healthy as he is, he is never as vibrant and lively as other kittens. I almost always find him sitting on the sideline watching, and he is tired so easily he slept away most of his days, unlike other kittens.

Still, I was so glad of the chance given to spend my life with such an angelic creature, that I didn’t pay too much attention on my hurting wrist then. I just want to shower him with every attention, give him good food, plenty of toys, nice beds, everything he probably can’t even dream of when he still live on the streets. At those time, my wrist is second to the last priority. I put ointments on my twisted wrist and ignore it, thinking that it’s just a small accident, and that it will heal as time pass by.

kewpie with martha

fast friends with Martha

He falls in love to a pet bed that I was making for sale, so I just let him have it and made a new one to be sent to Australia.

KewpieBed

Kewpie’s chosen home. He spent most of his life rolling all over inside the cave if not sleeping

kewpie in squid bed looking side

A kitten his age supposed to still be nursing instead of eating garbage

The cat bed followed Kewpie to his grave when monsoon came and a virus attacked his weak digestive system, and he left a big hole that he drilled into my heart during his short stay on earth.

I know it’s meant to be. Kewpie is still very young, he is still so small, and it is unfair for him to have to live less-than-perfect life without access to proper medication. I know it is best for him to leave soon, so he can go back to heaven and reborn as something better, but there’s still this gaping hole that he drilled into my heart.

Like the pain he left, the ache on my wrist lingers, and was growing worse. Every time I try to lift something, it stings right through my upper arms. Despite, I continue to use my wrist as if as nothing happened.

Or else, no one will keep the Whiskers’ Syndicate clean, alive, and running.

Quite a few friends and family know what happened to my wrist, but no one know about how it continue to worsen because I keep lying to everyone while trying hard to convince myself that it’s going to be OK, and it only take longer because instead of resting it, I continue to use it.

Soon enough it become too painful for me to type, and I am falling behind on answering emails and sending thank you note to supporters.

Then it becomes painful to click mouse so I skip resizing pictures for facebook or google+ and instead upload them as they are. Some seems to be OK, the other ones are just weird and I am obviously not satisfied with my work, but it’s the best thing I can do.

Last week I can’t even click a pen to use it to write without cringing in pain. It took me hours just to finish one post card that I sent along with every order, and I need the bus driver and post office staffs to help me carry items to be shipped even though they are less than 2 kilograms.

It is when my close friend Kay Meow remind me to seek help before it’s too late and my wrist turned into a bad arthritis. It’s a good advice and I intended to follow it, but The Whiskers’ Syndicate is at critical moment right now and I don’t feel like abandoning it even for a while to take care of myself, even if I want to.

I feel like I was pushed around trying to hold the momentum and fund raise for our defunct roof before the cats all died out of sickness or brawls. There is no way forty something adult cats stays together in less than 36 square meters (about 380 square feet) without at least clawing at each other.

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When our “Achoo” boy cleared up …

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another one gone worse.

The fund raising has been in itself, a roller coaster adventure. We have hope when we are referred to an online auctioneer that benefit animals, but there is no further contact from the auction house and our messages went unanswered. We are very happy that we are appointed as charity of the month by Etsy For Animals Team, in which portion of their sales in December 2013 will benefit our repair fund, but there is not much sales to hope for, until the team launched an emergency fund raising that ended up well enough to buy two extra large to contain the cats when it’s time to repair.

With new flourishing hope from the emergency fund raising, we are trying to knock more door to be included into other auctions that benefit animals, but we have little luck and the donation meter stuck for about a week, until a kind friend posted our story in a celebrity’s facebook page and people come to help, among which is our friend Nikki Prindle who set out in her personal campaign to collect donated items for the Whiskers’ Syndicate.

The last best news is that we will be included in an online auction that benefit our rescue in January and April 2014.

In the middle of all the uncertainty, I called my doctor, made an appointment, and listening to my story, he touched my wrist and move it around, a gesture so gentle yet left me shouting in sheer pain. It seems like, in the doctor’s world, even an idiot can easily ruled out that my wrist has gone bad enough, and in his own words: going to be a bad arthritis if I came see him a few days late.

And I planned to visit him a few days late if Kay Meow didn’t urge me to find help immediately.

He looked at my face as he ruled his judgement, and made a challenge:

He will overturn my arthritis, and completely heal them, but I have to:

1. Stop taking more jobs and stay with whatever I have now.

2. See and work with physiotherapist he recommends for the whole week.

3. Take heaps of medication that, like life, is sugar coated, but left a bad after taste.

When I got out of the hospital, my heart can’t sink any deeper. I really need to repair the cattery. I really need to help the cats, I really need to make it now, because once the year turned into a new one, we will be drowned in the merciless rainy season, and seriously, I need to keep everyone alive because I don’t know if my heart can take another ache if someone die out of pneumonia or Chlamydia and I can’t help it because the mobsters don’t have proper place to stay.

But I also need this hand. I am a rescuer, a seamstress, crafter, cook, cleaner, translator, blogger, and at the very bottom line I am right handed. I am ambidextrous and I have no trouble using my left hand, but I was born right handed so it’s still my dominant hand.

So here is my choice: I continue to do what I am doing now, and lost my hand (hence the cats will die because I cannot work with one hand) or step back and fail the fund raising effort and the cats will die from the harsh season.

I talked about this to my captain, and as I lamented about my failed efforts, she wrote:

 Maybe the Universe (God) is saying – look here are people to help you and I make them succeed. You need to take care of yourself and the kitties and slow down. You keep trying to NOT do that so God makes you not succeed to teach you lesson.

I was actually  startled long enough reading that, that she has to ping on me and ask “Are you listening?”

It seems like in my frantic rush, I forgot to stop, take a breath, and look around, and I did it long enough to missed the one door that God had left open.

We have people cancel their promise to us, we have people backed out from donating items to auction, we have people forgetting their pledge to donate citing various reasons to justify their spending (which is actually their right, so we’re not complaining, though disappointed), we have people moving away from us and care for his and her own joyful Christmas tirade.

But we also have those who dropped by and stay to lend their hand without having to be asked to do that. We have friends who take their own initiative and cover the holes that we have not yet touch, and we have those who try to share our story online and offline whether or not the seed they sow will grow, let alone bare fruit.

Most of all we have our faith that if God put us here, He will lead us through it, one way or another. We gone too far to turn back now, even if we can turn back. Whiskers’ Syndicate is the only animal sanctuary in Bandung, breeder capital of Indonesia, a country without animal welfare. Our house is the only place they can turn to, if they live long enough to get to us, so we can’t afford to just break down and cry and return all our rescues to the street and refuse all others who come.

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a street cat like this one is coming everyday and beg in front of our door since the flood

We can, actually. No one will blame us, but we won’t do it because we have one more thing that might work: YOU.

Animals have no one else to turn to but us, and we do not have anyone else to turn to but you.

1. We tell you once and we will tell you again: 1 USD equals more than 10 thousand Rupiah. You got your eyes right, which is why we always say a little bit bring huge help.

We need USD 5,600 to repair our sanctuary and we only have USD 1,000 as of today. Would you chip in just USD 1 to help our Christmas dream come true? Spare your change, throw us your coins here.

2. EFA/ Etsy For Animals team with members all over the world is on sale to benefit our cause during December 2013 only.

3. Join Lori Skaggs on our Quest2Canaan in Facebook. If you like animals, and especially cats, chances are there will be something that catch your heart off guard.

Help Lori share our stories. Sharing is free, and yet it saves lives.

4. Don’t feel like donating money? Our friend Nikki Prindle is helping us collecting items that are not available in Indonesia but is crucial for the cats. You can find what we need here (scroll to the bottom for a complete list)

We only do this because we believe that there is still good in people. We only do this because we believe that there’s still kindness left in every heart, we believe that if every small things that we are band together, we are strong. We believe in you, and at this moment, you should see that we stretch our hands and paws for our life and you can make it happen.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

We believe that you are our Christmas miracle, and so all we need for Christmas is you.