The Cat Man
Friday, November 27th, 2009
This is the Sixaola River, just outside of Bri Bri. Panama and it’s mountains are on the left side of the river and Costa Rica on the right.
One nice summer morning, before it go too hot, Gina and Renzzo came by. “We’ve got some place to go, come on and bring your camera.” I hopped in the car and we headed down the dirt road, out to the main road, made a left at Hone Creek and up the mountain toward Bri Bri. We were on our way to see the Cat Man.
Bri Bri is a small town in the mountains, about ten miles from Puerto Viejo. It is named for the local indigenous tribe who are an important part of Costa Rica culture. On a bright, summer day the surrounding countryside is just glorious.
We passed by the wide and rambling Sixaola river (top photo) with it’s magnificent mountains in the background and turned right, off the dirt road into a neighborhood in the outskirts of the jungle. At the end of the road we found the Cat Man.
What a sweet and amusing fellow! In spite of being “older than dirt and as deaf as a post” he was quite the amicable guy. He lives on the fruits of the jungle, in a little hut with his countless, kindred cats, there must have been a hundred or more and he’s got names for every one of them. He was cooking pejibaye (below) when we arrived and he was most delighted to share it with us. It is a vegetable from the Caribbean world of Costa Rica food.
The Cat Man is always so happy when Gina and Renzzo come by. They bring a huge bag of cat food. He was almost in tears that day and told us we were the answer to his prayers. He’d run out of cat food but he knew God would provide. Gina was his angel! The Cat Man was worried. He said a neighbor had told the government he was using his social security check to feed the cats and he was in danger of losing his pension.
There were cats of every color and kind, more cats than I’ve ever seen in one place, but they all looked happy and healthy to me. The Cat Man had set up nooks and caves and all kinds of play places for his feline family. These peaceful creatures brought love and meaning into the life of a solitary old man. It was a joy to see.