"You are right, Thomas, Accra was impossible to re-shape and transform into a city that we need for generations ahead. I mean Accra was built with a plan as far as I know...I mean a sort of a long-term plan...but as...," was Andrej Anatolij, Minister for Housing and Infrastructure, once born in Moscow, a former Communist deep in his heart converted to a man fighting only for what is best for people to serve without any ideology behind his actions and suggestions.
"Imagine just the sewage problem and constant flooding in Accra to change would have cost the nation far too much money compared to setting up a new capital along the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in close reach of Tema, Accra, Takoradi, in easy reach of Kumasi and the borders to Ivory Coast and Togo," said Yuma Tanaka from Japan an environmental expert that had been greatly involved in the increased demand of Japan for highspeed trains and connections to even the most remote places of the country facing a difficult terrain and to ensure the environment is protected and taken good care off. He had to fight against many diverse interests of pressure groups from the side of the economy, politics as well as locals in the many parts of the country. Earthquakes were a constant reminder of what best needs to be done to have an overall plan for generations ahead that would serve the entire country well. He was a world-renowned and highly decorated man that in his humble way never saw himself in the spotlight but was always focused on serving his country Japan. Before his retirement age, the call from King Thomas had reached him at his private residence just outside of Tokyo. At first, he had thought someone would want to play tricks on him before he had finally come to realize the voice at the other end was truly from Bergo and King Thomas. He had been speechless for minutes and had asked King Thomas for one week to think about the calling to come to Ghana and serve that African nation. Little had he known that King Thomas had called up the Emperor of Japan directly and asked for their best man in environmental studies to give Ghana a helping hand. Before the week Yumu Tanaka had asked for to rethink his position had expired, the Emperor of Japan had asked him to see him in his palace. As a great admirer of the Emperor and his deep understanding of life`s matters and wisdom, Yuma Tanaka had boarded Japan Airlines the following day and arrived in Bergo the following morning greeted at the Airport especially by King Thomas.
"In the olden day, so long ago and buried already under the rubble of history, when a President left the country his Vice and some Ministers would join him to the Airport, wishing him a safe journey and happy return as a sign of loyalty to the President and that they would resist from any coup against him in his absence. But this time-wasting period is over...as I said buried under the rubble of history," had King Thomas laughed at the Airport welcoming Yuma Tanaka five years back.
"What you just refer to, that moment I arrived in Ghana...Thomas...oh yes, I remember it very well," smiled Yuma Tanaka before all passengers on board were asked by the pilot to get back to their seats and fasten their seat belts.
They sat at the shores of Faro, a small town in the south-west of Portugal overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean to their right. Every morning, except Sundays, they would come there and sit and look. It was still warm, not hot like later in the day unbearable during the midday sun that would force all of them to return to their wooden houses with wide-open windows made from wood. Inside their houses, it was dark most of the time. They had no money to buy candles or petroleum for lamps that would smoke in small houses to make clothes and furniture stink the whole day long. Firewood was the only source in cold nights and for cooking that they were able to use. On rare occasions where they able to get hold of whale fat to fuel their lamps only in times when the fisherman from their village would have caught one by change, something that did not happen very often as ships were unable to go too far out to sea. Each of their houses had a small garden to grow vegetables and fruits for their daily needs. Bread and meat are what they bought from others, fish they caught for free by themselves at the shores of Faro.
"Can anyone of you tell me which year it is? You know I am not so well educated...like most of us?" asked Manuel Belo, the oldest man of the three. His eyes were tired, his skin covered in wrinkles. Life had been hard on him. His wife had passed on ten years back, his only son had died will going out to sea for fishing in a ghastly storm. His daughter had died while in labour over thirty years back. He knew being in is early fifty that his life soon would come to an end like for most of his friends.
Raphael Cabral looked out to sea watching his fishing rod trying to catch small fish in the shallow waters at the beach they sat on and answered: "Twelve hundred and ninety-five...I guess!"
"You guess right!" smiled Lino Coelho and prepared a small fire for them to fry the fresh catch right at the spot. He had collected firewood in the nearby olive farm that had belonged to his uncle from his wife`s side. "The years are passing by so fast; I am telling you."
After they all had caught small fish and fried their catch, they sat together enjoying the early morning sun shining on them as usual. Not much had changed in their lives, the same procedures as the years that had passed. The three had known each other since teenager age and had gone out to see for fishing as that is all they ever had known in their families. They had grown up with the education of their parents and that had meant for them nothing but to follow in their footsteps and for that matter out for fishing.
Manuel Belo looked out to sea with tears in his eyes and a romantic look on his face dreaming himself into another time and another place on earth saying: "Boys...what would be if out there other people would live? I mean, I cannot imagine for a second that there is no life beyond what our year can see. There most certainly must be something else and something different. More people, other people I mean...and maybe...."
"You want to dream the impossible?" asked Lino Coelho taking out the fire and collecting his fishing rod. "To dream is nice...but to dream of reality is even nicer, my good old friend."
"I have now come all the way that far," smiled Manuel Belo at Lino Coelho with one eye on Raphael Cabral to see about his reaction, "that I am more and more convinced there must be more people out there...and these people might live a very different life from us. Maybe they have also different colours and we might learn from them and they might learn from us. What if...."
"You are a great dreamer...at your old age...," had Raphael Cabral laughed while the three got up to leave the beach as the midday sun had been about to hit them well with its harsh sun.
"Dreaming, yes...that is true," had Manuel Belo defended himself and had climbed up the little rock that made the line between the beach and the narrow pathway between a man high bush line. "Dreaming is the start of a great future! Without it, a great life will never come!"
"You are not only a great dreamer, my friend, now you want to teach us a lesson of the good life...or what should we think?" had commented Lino Coelho sitting down on the self-made wooden bench before his humble fisherman`s house. Raphael Cabral had kept quite watching events unfolding. Talking much had never been his nature rather observing what people say, think and do.
"Our life here in our corner...look it is a daily routine, not much is changing. But when you look beyond what you can see at the horizon of the sea...I mean there surely must be a better life...at least something we can use and like us, Portuguese can benefit from and make our life far more comfortable than the hard life we live today sitting here in our corner."
Lino Coelho had taken tobacco out of his dirty pocket, had lit it and enjoyed the smell and smoke while looking deep into his friend's eyes saying: "Let us assume for a moment that beyond what our eyes can see but what our mind can imagine...I mean just for a simple moment, there are other people with a very different way of living...and let us assume how they live we could possibly benefit from and let us further just imagine in our minds that they have treasures we cannot imagine right now at all but when we will see them we would know their value and benefit for ourselves. I mean, let us only imagine in our minds that that would be possible to achieve. As much as I can try to imagine that...what I simply cannot imagine...how far the way is to reach them...all across the water...and when eventually facing them...I cannot imagine that they simply would give their treasures to us just like a gift, but we might have to take these treasures into our hands by force."
"I agree with you on that, Lino," had Manuel Belo said while looking behind him to the horizon as far as his eyes had been able to see.
"But sorry to mention that," had he turned his eyes back to his friend Lino Coelho, "this only means we need to take our time now as a country to invent ships that can sail for long and reach the other side of the planet avoiding to fall over the edge when it comes to an end and when we face other people and see their treasures we must be well prepared with weapons and military tactics to take from them what is not ours to be ours. That should not be too difficult. It would only take a visionary idea, a bit of money for practical inventions and the blessing of our King. Then one day we set sail, face other people, take what is there and not ours to make it ours and live a happy life ever after."
Raphael Cabral had looked at both of his friends quietly and intensively. He had opened his mouth to ask: "Is that not very egoist thinking of us? I mean to take what is not ours and to enrich ourselves at the expense of others?"
"Now...Raphael...you are a dreamer also?" had Lino Coelho laughed his head off. "Imagine for one minute that people out there might have the same thinking as us now. What would happen then? I mean, they might sit in their corners, think about people like us, about our land, our treasures and one beautiful morning they would reach our shores and stand in our houses to give them what is ours and not theirs? How would you feel for your grandchildren in case that scenario would ever happen? Would you be happy?"
Raphael Cabral and Manuel Belo had looked down to the dusty ground of the place before the house of Lino Coelho seeing the white paint cracking with which he had tried to decorate it and make the heat of the day stay out. They had not answered him.
"You have no answer to that," had commented Lino Coelho the reaction of his friends. "But I am telling you something. Before my children and children`s children will ever be slaves and exploited by other people from far away land...I will do everything in my powers to make sure this will never ever happen. It is us or them...simple as that. And as I do not have money in my pocket...and we all have no money in our pockets...the little we can do is to support our Kings in all he wants to achieve beyond the horizon...at least with our minds and by standing united as a country in this good course. By doing so in the end we will come out victoriously."