Armstrong's diary - a memoirBy Yousif Abdelaal-Wait, aged 9 ½
SOS note: This story was sent to us by a boy who wrote this story to shine a light on the plight of orangutans. He was studying deforestation at school, but felt so compelled by the topic and the orangutans' plight, that he started to do his own research into what is happening to orangutans on the ground in Indonesia. This is what he wrote, hoping to inspire other young people to share his passion for these wonderful animals:
Day 1 - I lay in the branches quietly, letting the warmth of the hot sun shine over me. I think about Ma deep in the forest, gathering food – young leaves and juicy fruits. Where is she? Normally, Ma would have been back ages ago.
Suddenly, my deep thoughts are starting to become worries. Is she alright? Is she coming back? Where could Ma be? Ma is coming. Ma will come, I promised myself, trying to keep calm. But I was not calm. I started to squirm around in my tree. I couldn’t keep still. Ma will come. Ma will come. Ma is alright. Prickles of fear shot down my legs, making me want to run. I told myself Ma was alright, desperately wishing for her to come. But those thoughts were just me, me being optimistic. Before I could stop myself, I sent out a warning hoot, which echoed through the dark night, the trees carrying it far, far away. There was no answer. Panicking, I leapt out of my tree, and ran. I ran for my life, I ran for Ma. I ran for Ma’s life. I ran until I heard the noise. I ran until I heard and smelt the dreaded thing. Then, I stopped dead.
Sniffing the air cautiously, I smelt smoke. That was the first hint of it. Then I heard the crackling. Both of those pointed to the same thing – the flames of fire. I stood still on the spot, my breathing heavy. I heard a noise above the sound of crackling flames. It made my heart ache. Tears came into my eyes, and I screeched for her. I screamed for my beloved Ma. There was a screech back, coming from deep in the forest, one that told me she was in great pain. I began to run again, screaming wildly for her. But there was no answer. The only noise which grew louder and louder was the crashing of trees falling to the ground and hungry streaks of fire moving along to find another tree to gobble up. Then I ran. I ran, I ran, I ran. Crash, crash, crash. Run, run, run. Crash, crash, crash. Run, run, run. Then I could run no longer. I felt the explosion in my head and then felt lights buzzing around in circles. The last thing I had seen was a monstrous tree falling towards me. Then – a deadly silence.