Meet Gieke, our youngest orangutan baby in the Sintang Orangutan Centre (SOC). Gieke is the baby of Penai and Matuari, whose (not-human-planned) intimate meetings through the bars of neighbouring cages led to the birth of this beautiful orangutan baby girl. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our two veterinarians, Vicktor and Jati, Penai was not able to produce milk. And in order to save the little baby’s life we had to separate her from her mother. But Gieke often visits her mother who comes and looks. When Gieke can eat solid food, she will rejoin her mother.
So why is she named Gieke?
A few weeks ago, we suddenly received two donations of 1.000 Euro each from the same person, Miss Gieke Beekmans. At first, we thought it was a mistake and we contacted her to clarify. But then she wrote back to say that she had not long to live and that the transfers were fully intentional because she always had had great admiration for the Masarang Foundation’s work. It touched our hearts and Willie wrote her back with the suggestion to name Penai’s daughter after Gieke. It was not long after that we heard that Gieke had already passed away. Her brother Dirk told us that she received our letter and really was touched by our offer and had said that that was the most beautiful gift she had ever received! We are so glad she still did receive our letter and our gift.
It is only now that we learned that Gieke was an animal lover and that when her beloved dog Ramses died in February, it was not long after that she learned herself had only a short time left to live. She refused chemotherapy, sold all her things (she was a manicurist and pedicurist in the Dutch province of Brabant). And she donated all the funds to good causes, one of which was our Masarang Foundation.
Her brother told us that she was a happy, modest woman who was always very kind to animals and people. Gieke said goodbye to her closest friends and family and passed away on April 4th.
On behalf of the Masarang Foundation, we wish her family much strength. We hope they will monitor through our newsletters how orangutan baby Gieke will grow and develop until the day of her release in the jungle of West Kalimantan. We are sure Gieke will be smiling from above to see how her gift has helped this beautiful little baby in which her name will live on much longer.