"What we have successfully achieved as one of the first African countries and now a world leader is to destroy the desire and belief for more and more meat," commented Minister Lian Xi seeing that Lionel Lombardi could not agree more ordering Champagne to their light afternoon snack advising his chef called to come closer to whisper in his ears to prepare Farmer's breakfast for his guest before they all would again go their own ways. "Especially our African societies seeing meat consumption as a status symbol to catch up with the developed world we were able to convince not to spend their increased income on a meat-based diet rather to expand their vegetables and healthy fruits intake. It was already troubling that the obesity and level of diabetes in our societies were on the rise causing not only personal hardship but overburdened our health system. It was time to turn around the system and at the peak of the problem we were able to do so. Our people now are not only healthier than before but even better fed. Cow and pig farmers were angry at us at first but we guided them step by step into a new direction for them to come out even having more money in their pockets than before. Sometimes in a society, you have to convince people to do the right things by words, sometimes you simply have to take action and force them into their own happiness. Not everything is black and white, what matters, in the end, is the result and when that is positive for people, whatever it had taken them to reach to that better level is truly justified."
"I could not agree with you more, Sir," said Lionel Lombardi opening personally the two bottles of finest French Champagne. "I could not have said it better myself!" He smiled and poured out the Champagne into the line of crystal glasses before him.
"So, when we changed the Agric system of our economy,"
mentioned Minister Noam Cohen, "we did it in such a way that we were able to increase the fertile lands for more farming while maintaining the balance between the need for humans to expand their habitat while at the same time keeping the needed habitat for animals and plants in tact...not an easy balance to achieve, but with new ideas and put in place and enforced strategies...this is what we were able to achieve. Of course, we will never be in a perfect situation. There will always be challenges. Just recently a herd of elephants were trampling down the electric fence of a farmer not far from here destroying his farm by destroying his crop. He now complains to be a poor man simple we as a country want to have a healthy animal population. In this particular case, like in other too, we must constantly look into the situation and constantly come up with better and better solutions that work for all of us here in the country, and as we do not live alone on the planet, for the African continent and beyond. Our brains should never ever rest."
"When our brains rest...we will be kicked out once more from paradise...Adam and Eve...you recall?" laughed Lionel Lombardi is head off while toasting to a better future with his guest standing at the table having great fun. He invited them for a walk on his property to show them all the flowers and plants he asked to be planted for him, the rivers with fish finding their ways on his property, some natural, some artificially constructed by his landscaping architect who was constantly ensuring all the constant new ideas of his client were put in place and looked after well.
"Oh, I can see there is a stone from a real grave?" asked Minister Lian Xi looking under a mighty bush with red flowers. "Very interesting!"
"That is my mother!"
Minister Noam Cohen was astonished and puzzled asking: "You mean, you brought the dead body of your mother to this place?" His eyebrows raised.
"No, not like that," laughed Lionel Lombardi pushing his guest further through the gardens on his property that all had their own theme enjoying the company of one cheetah walking by his side. "When the lease time for the grave of my mother had ended and a new lease owner wanted to put his family into the grave I asked for the stone to be brought here as a reminder of where I came from."
Few meters and the guest were looking at typical dessert plants from the Sahara and Mexico with a Japanese stone garden in the background. The air was fresh and warm. The clouds in the sky nowhere to be found.
"To make our new Agric system work," wanted Minister Noam Cohen to end his presentation seeing Lionel Lombardi was carefully watching him, "we had to go many different and innovative ways. We use not only the lands the people of this country used to know for generations but also buildings, factories, offices, underground, floating farms on water and alike to cater for the increase and still immensely increasing numbers of Ghanaians, to have enough farming space for healthy food. And as you well know we on the African continent have concluded not every country of us needs to produce everything rather specializes on what a country is capable of doing best. So, we import what we do not grow ourselves and we give what others need from us as they do not have cocoa but want chocolate and so on. So, a whole new concept to run and manage the African continent and us as Ghanaians as the coordination centre of all activities and their main advisors...that made it possible for Africa once more to dominate the world like in the good olden days when mankind was born."
"And the conflicts the transition period was bringing, I mean the economic, political and social powers of the white man back into the hands of the black man forced into this world by the overpopulation of the Africans...I see that this was not too hard for all of us. Looking back into history, I mean the past ten or twenty years or so...this was quite well managed," smiled Lionel Lombardi.
"I myself have to confess I was expecting much more noise and fights...but in fact the transition period, the shift from the white man back to the black man...that was not all that peaceful...but less dramatic than I had anticipated," mentioned Minister Lian Xi enjoying one more cheetah coming to the group and standing by his side.
"To achieve greatness in life and history is not by the voice of the weapons...at least not in the end, only for short time...it is by the brain and the voice of the brain," mentioned Lionel Lombardi being back at the main house with his guest allowing the two cheetahs to rest on the ground and at the feet of his guests.
The man was dead, he was sure about it. Laying on his chest facing down to the ground socked in his own blood the man, close to two meters tall dressed in a dark suit, was not moving at all. He did not know whether he should touch him to see what had happened to the man. Having seen many detective movies on TV he knew touching something could change the entire story of the police investigation. The shoes of the man seemed to have been well polished before the man had fallen to the ground and covered with mud. His shoes were hardly used, nearly brand new. He walked around the dead man in the tiny little alley that was a dead-end leading to a small house only, after which a river was flowing. He did not know the houses around. He did not hear nor saw anyone around. The place was spooky, empty, and deserted. He tried his very best to imagine what had happened. The man was in good shape, healthy and strong, very muscular. The idea hit his mind the man could have possibly been a soldier or a guard of some sort. At the side of the dead man, the blazer looked a bit bigger than the rest of his clothes. He moved closer, got down on his knees to check that side of the dead body out. The idea came to his mind that the dead man could have a gun on him. Very cautiously did he push the blazer aside and starred at a pistol. Never in his life had he seen a gun face to face, only in movies. Filled with fear and anxiety and at the same time with the instinct always to know what is going on in this world and why, did he overcome the voices in his head and put his hands into the pocket of the dead man`s trousers. Something cold, something made of metal, was he touching. Slowly did he pull out the metal something holding a key, a bit rusty, before his eyes. He was wondering what the keys were all about, to which door it would possibly belong to, which secrets it would unveil. He looked at the keys, one bigger than the other, from all angles and saw a written note on it engraved at one side indicating it would be the key to the house of the Presidency at Flagstaff House for the officeholder to live while being in office. He put the keys into his pocket and left.
He was nearly stumbling over a crystal chandelier and into the ashes of what was once an office, a room of a secretary as it seemed to be. Books and papers, mostly black and burned were scattered all around him. The rubber of concrete, rusty iron rods, chairs and tables everywhere burnt beyond recognition. Very carefully, one foot before the other one, did he place his steps not to step into any window glass covering the ground. Over to his right, in the far distance of the compound did he see what once was the roof of the building, crashed to rubble in the fire set to it by King Thomas the day of his inauguration. He looked around, all he could see was the ruin of what was Flagstaff House, build and donated by Indians to the fourth Republic of Ghana. An impressive modern structure with two wings and a staircase in the middle, not a building that had any connection to Ghana`s past whatsoever or its future and symbols of hope and riches. It was one of these buildings’ architects use to showcase their talent or at least what they think their talent is and should be seen as such by others, clients and users of their buildings. In any case, he had never been very impressed by the Flagstaff House being of the view to burn it down as a reminder of dark days of Ghana was the best decision ever. The order of King Thomas to keep the site intact and let school classes visit the site to be aware of the dark days their parents had to pass through and to encourage them to work hard for a better nation Ghana with honesty, team play, discipline, observing time constantly, creativity, overcoming of jealousy and their hearts and spirit to see the bigger picture of the world and make Ghana great and strong on the African continent and beyond.
His eyes spotted a place at the side of the former building that seemed to lead down under the surface. Over the years bushes and grass had grown to cover up the staircase. Burnt papers, furniture and glass blocked his way. He put on his gloves, pushed the rubble aside and saw a stairway before him leading down. Minding each of his steps, checking the ceiling above his head, did he slowly make his way down to the bottom of the stairs and looked into wide room mom that once was the workplace of military personnel starring the whole day long at monitors covering all corners of the compound to ensure the safety of the President, his staff and visitors. He took a deep breath, tried to inhale the atmosphere the rooms was had when people were walking up and down the stairs to perform on their duties and the many international visitors they had seen down there on the screens before their eyes. Even they were only mostly able to see faces and movements, no sounds, no words spoken, yet certainly, the soldiers down in their cellar watching what had been going on above their heads must have given them an impression of what had been discussed, at least a glimpse oof r and its execution. Secrets, that what they had known down in their cellar, secrets they would not see, no discussion in the office of the President, no deals down in corridors or in toilets for eyes not to see. But they must have known that somewhere something was going on that was not right regardless of which party was in office. Money, national assets, contracts for the benefit of Politicians...such meetings, such agreements must have taken place somewhere somehow. As he turned around ready to leave the place covered in dusty darkness with plants growing in every corner, did he stop and looked to his left. In his left eye, he had seen a tiny little nugget of gold next to an old cocoa bean, presumably placed there by a loyal Ghanaian soldier who had wanted to remember always with having these two items on him daily at work what his nation as all about and what the reason had been for him to be a soldier down there ready at any time to defend the interest of his country. He looked at the gold nugget, he looked at the cocoa ban, he closed his eyes. Like sitting in a cinema watching a documentary about his beloved country Ghana its diverse and magnificent history rushed before his eyes. From the Ashanti Empire, the times of slave trade, colonialism, independence, the Republic of Ghana after the Republic of Ghana until salvation came in form of the new Kingdom of Ghana. His heart was beating, his ears were hurting him. Too many voices, too much noise in his head. He thought he would get crazy, his breath was running away, he needed to get out from the rubble of a dark history. Gold nugget and cocoa bean in his hands did he start to run making sure not to fall over the rubble of bigger concrete blocks and iron rod. After endless minutes guided by his instinct was, he is standing again on the surface of the earth in the middle of the ashes of Flagstaff House, down in ruins for good. He lifted his head to breath for fresh air. It took him minutes to recover from the shock he had down under the old Flagstaff House. When his mind calmed itself down and his eyes opened up and his nerves pointed to him to the far end of the vast compound, there it was, the house the Presidents of the Fourth Republic used to use while in office as their home. It was a structure, untouched by the fire King Thomas had set to the place, a house that over the years had been altered to meet the personal preferences of each President. The building called him, whispered into his ears to come, and look inside, to see, to understand and to uncover secrets he had never seen nor known about before. His heart was beating up to his neck, his breath moved him closer and closer to that house, once filled with laughter and voices, now empty and quiet, abandoned for all times. School classes or other people never came there. It was a no-go zone, normally heavily guarded to protect the darkness of the place to see the light of the day ever again. But right now, no housekeeper insight, time for him to move back into history.
The door was closed, but not locked. The keys he had taken from the dead mean hours before were fitting. The bigger key of the two was opening the door of the house, but the smaller one was still a mystery to him. He was convinced soon he would find out what that small key was for and which secrets it would let his eyes see.