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Little Girl Lost - Maaya's Story


Author: Sharon Lacey

Posted on September 11, 2017 4:30am

What would you do if your family disappeared one day, never to return?  Where would you go?   How would you survive?   How long would you wait, hoping against hope, that they’d come back?

     On 22 March 2012, Maaya arrived at the JCN shelter in Fukushima.  She had been found living in a broken-down house in Rikuzentakata, an area heavily impacted by the deadly tsunami that had swept across the north-eastern coast of Japan a year earlier.  The 21 foot high seawall designed to protect the small ocean-side community proved no match for the 42 foot wave that decimated Rikuzentakata.  Nearly 2,000 of its some 24,000 residents lost their lives in a single afternoon, and much of the town’s homes and infrastructure were simply washed away. 

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    And then there was Maaya.  She had had another name once, to be sure, but like everything else from that time, it was long gone. Now she spent her days wandering aimlessly through the temporary housing compound, eating what she could, when she could.  Sometimes those meals came from a sympathetic evacuee who had taken pity on Maaya, and it was she who finally alerted visiting volunteers to the plight of the friendly little calico whose humans seemed nowhere to be found.   Maaya, after all, was not an ordinary stray, skittish and wary of all things human.  No, it was clear she had had a family once.  A home.  Around her neck she wore a plain pink collar, the last remaining vestige of her former life. Someone somewhere had cared about this little girl once. 

      And so it seemed, liked the fabled Hachiko, Maaya waited.  For over a year, she waited, struggling to survive, amidst incalculable devastation.  We will never know the missing chapter of Maaya’s story, her early life, and how she ended up abandoned and alone.  Was, as many speculated, the broken-down house in which she now lived, in fact, the ruins of her former home?  What happened to the person who had given her the pretty pink collar? 

Maaya wanders the temporary housing compound (March 22, 2012)

A JCN volunteer tries to coax Maaya over.

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What happened to the person that gave Maaya the pink collar?

     Five and a half years have passed since Maaya first arrived at the shelter. Sadly, no one has stepped forward to claim Maaya, and it is possible her family did not survive the tsunami.  And still Maaya waits.  Waits for another family to give her the love and care she knew once so long ago.  How much longer will she need to wait?

      This lovely and friendly little girl is always eager for companionship, and she will often jump into bed with the volunteers in the morning to let them know just how much she missed them during the night!  Maaya just loves any kind of attention, and always wants to be everyone's best friend.  If she has something to say, she will definitely let you know.   Maaya loves to eat, so she needs daily exercise - Her favourite work-out involves pouncing and swatting at the nearest fishing rod toy.  After play time, a good brushing is always most appreciated.   She gets along well with most cats, but Maaya would probably do best in a home with less dominant kitties.

      Maaya is currently staying at the JCN shelter in Inawashiro, but can be available for foster care or adoption in other parts of Japan.  If you are interested in welcoming Maaya or one of our other deserving animals into your home and heart, please fill out an application at  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdu4Q2mhaaKHFsqTqcK6poHMBlfLeDhDbl44RmmYH1jzooYjw/viewform?formkey=dHVMM3Radm9vYlNSVDBqUGlrRE8zWFE6MQ  or contact us at [email protected]

Maaya will be waiting.


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