It was a beautiful morning. The village of Dasengaki was peaceful in the early hours

of the day. The sunrise illuminated it with its dazzling rays. The morning dew was still drying off. Hefty elephants slowly hiked across the landscapes behind the village. The tall dry grass was swaying in the wind. Lanky giraffes ate off the green trees and the gazelles sprinted past the waddling rhinos, while the zebras were drinking from the lake. The morning sunlight was reflecting off the lake and into Amare’s eyes.

Amare listened to chirps of the birds and watched the sunrise while he was crouched

milking his cow for his breakfast that morning. The warm fresh milk and the cow were all they had for a living. His family had very little money and owned a small hut, simply made of clay and straw. Amare’s long black hair dangled in front of his face so every once in awhile he had to blow it out. For his age, twelve, he was quite short but he was a very fast runner.

It was this day that it all started. A big army truck rolled into his village early

on that calm Friday morning, breaking the silence. As it drove past speedily, Amare saw a group of white soldiers huddled in the back of the truck. He ran inside the hut and shouted, “daddy, daddy, did you see the big truck drive past!”. But his father wasn’t inside the house. He called a few more times but got no reply.

He went outside and saw the commotion of an agitated crowd that had gathered. He saw that his father was in the centre of the crowd. Amare heard questions being bounced around. “Are they tourists? Are they friendly? Why are they here? What do they want?” Everybody wanted to know who the soldiers were.

Amare felt like he didn’t want to be a part of this. He was uncertain about the crowd’s intention. The soldiers in the back of the truck made him nervous, but he was curious to know where they were going. He ran swiftly after them, following their tracks out of the village. They led him to the tall dry grass and to the edge of the lake.

From a distance, he watched in shock as a soldier threw two elephant tusks onto a pile of much more. Poachers! He had to stop them.