• CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Lifting the Veil

    The celebration has begun.

    Dignitaries from all the coastal countries of west Africa are present along with officers of all the regional military bases and a group of American civilians, mainly medical doctors and engineers. Seated in the front row, next to one another, are Jamison Dracel, Jamison's wife, Katherine, and Dexter Dracel.

    Dr. Mackie steps up to the podium.
         "Hello everyone.  Good Afternoon and welcome on the Liberia gateway to the Mandela Liberty Transcontinental Highway.  My name is Dr. Steven Mackie, civil engineer with the USA Corporation.  I am so pleased to open today's ceremony.  I'm pleased because a month ago, when I first arrived, I had no idea why I was here."
    The crowd offers a knowing chuckle.
         "Today, I address you with the greatest amount of pride and faith in the historical partnership, ambassadorship and good will that is about to take place on this great continent.   I now realize it was best that I learned what my job would ultimately be, in small steps.  Anything more would have indeed been far too fantastic to bear.  And now, it is time to share with you, the greatness of this highway."

    Dr. Mackie pauses for the round of applause and cheers from the audience. During the applause, Dexter speaks just under his breath,
         "America, don't ask, won't tell. What trick is about to be pulled out of Uncle Sam's hat now?"
    Jamison slightly leans over Katherine and whispers to Dexter,
         "Oh, you are going to love what is about to go down here today. And I assure you, it is the last of the secrets. We saved the best for last. You should have invited Sgt. Baker over to sit with you for this occasion."
    Dexter gives Jamison a look that could kill him dead where he stood, were it possible.

    Dr. Mackie continues,
         "Ladies and gentlemen, unveiling the next phase of the Mandela Liberty Transcontinental Highway, we welcome the Senior Vice President of American Public Relations and the creator of the Dracel Card, Jamison Dracel."

    The crowd jump to their feet in excited applause.  Surprised and looking around, Dexter slowly gets up to his feet and share in the applause, though he seems genuinely confused by the reception.  Katherine is standing proud and smiling lovingly at her husband.
         "Thank you ladies and gentlemen...thank you. Go ahead and take a seat. You are all too kind. Find myself feeling like Jay-Z up here."
    Dexter scoffs and whispers to himself,
         "Really? Jay-Z?"
    Katherine responds without breaking her Stepford Wife smile,
         "Yes, in fact, he hand delivered Jay-Z, Beyonce, and little Blue Ivy's Dracel Cards to them personally."
    Dripping with sarcasm,
          "Of course he did."
    Dexter slightly shakes his head, finding it hard to appreciate his brother's social and corporate rise.

    Jamison continues at the podium, sounding both presidential and like a black southern minister,
         "When we first began this project, it was hard to see where it was going.  As we cut this ribbon today, some three years later, we see exactly where it is going: the future. Africa is home TO millions and home OF billions. There is a small number of people on this planet who's lineage does not trace back to this vast continent. Today we cut the ribbon on this highway, and open the doors home. We are going to bring some of those BILLIONS...home. Ladies and gentlemen, today, we change the world!

         "Laying along the west coast of Africa, from Senegal to South Africa, the Mandela Liberty Transcontinental Highway will serve many purposes.  First, it was be a transportation artiery, giving us and all the neighboring countries, access to all the coastal nations and hundreds of local towns and villages.  With the assistance and generous funding of the USA Corporation, many of these villages will be given a new chance at economic development and success.  How will we do this, you may ask? Tourism.

         "Under the leadership of civil engineer, Dr. Mackie, and my big brother, Major Dexter Dracel, the Mandela Liberty Transcontenital Highway was constructed to UNITE African nations. The MLTH is also a west African coastal corridor made with the American traveler in mind.  Beginning in August of 2020, a little more than a year from now, the USA Corporation will launch a tourism inititaive that will also be an economic development program for coastal west Africa.  The American sons and daughters of Africa are coming home."

    The audience gives an warm and enthusiast round of applause.  Jamison continues,
         "I want to publicly thank these two men...first, the man who has been at the forefront of this project since the beginning. He is a role model to me my entire life. My big brother, Major Dexter Dracel, is a leader among great men and women who have changed the face and the wealth of Africa. Folks credit me with doing that in America with the card that bares our name but the work my brother had done here will eclipse that which has been accomplished in the United States. This highway is a road of vision and grand path of destiny and my brother has walked every inch of it in the last three years. Ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you give a big round of applause and your appreciation to my brother and one of my best friends, Major Dexter Dracel."

    Dexter remains planted in his chair at first. Slowly people begin standing up for a grand ovation, forcing Dexter to stand up and offer a wave of thanks back to the crowd.  He is the first to take his seat again and gives his attention back to Jamison, who is arrogantly smirking back at Dexter.  Dexter does not seem pleased with this attention.  In fact, he looks pensive as, moment to moment, he is uncertain of what the ceremony is about to bring.

         "The other man I'd like to give a warm and public thanks is Dr. Stephen Mackie. He has promoted to the lead civil planning and development engineer on the MLTH for USA Corp.  As you know, Dr. Mackie's job has been designing the finishing touches on this highway. One might assume the 'finishing touches' would be on and exit ramps, railings and signage, plant life and rest areas. Yes..."

    The audience chuckles. Dexter doesn't stir.

         "Yes, a part of his job in the beginning was to design all of those necessary items from the most northern point of the Mandela Highway to the southern most by the cape. That took all of six days for Dr. Mackie to design and send a team to execute.  No, we did not bring Dr. Mackie over to design public toilets and sign posts.  Dr. Mackie and his team have designed a series of ship ports along the entire west coast of Africa.  A series of matching ports have been created along the eastern seaboard in American, from Maine to Florida."

    There is a murmur of comments rolling through the audience. They quiet as Jamison continues,

         "The United States of America and the USA Corporation along with the heads of government from all the countries the Mandela Highway touches have partnered to create the most amazing, historical travel experience known to man, Sankofa 2020."

    The crowd erupts in applause.  Jamison attempts to quiet the audience before continuing but opts to speak over the crowd,

         "YES!! We are giving American citizens, black Americans in particular, the trip of a lifetime: Passage Home."

    The crowd jumps to their feet and applaud with a wild ferocity. Jamison raises his arms to settle the crowd and get them back in their seats.
         "Didn't I say we are here to change the world today?"
    The crowd laughs and give a more controlled applause.
         "Ok, Sankofa 2020. Amazing name, huh? Sankofa means to go back and get...to return and seek.  The Adinkra symbol for sankofa resembles a heart. There is another symbol takes the shape of a bird. The is a proverb, 'Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi.' "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.' Home.  But where? Where is home? I mean despite what American education would have you belief, Africa is a pretty big and diverse place.  Where will the average modern African American return? Many of us have a hard time drawing our lineage beyond out great grand parents or our great great grand parents. We know the bookkeeping system blacks in chains was unreliable, at best...but blood does not lie.  DNA...does not lie.

         "Dr. Steven Mackie has lead a large team of scientist and doctors, up and down the ENTIRE Mandela Highway, and has work with the African leaders you see up here today, in developing a database of destiny, as I like to call it.  DNA banks have been set up by the hundreds, all throughout the western nations.  Members of all of the existing tribes along these shores have participated in DNA screenings and have volunteered their blood samples to create a living directory.

         "While in the clinics, the sick are being treated for the variety of diseases and illnesses suffered among the masses.  The malnutrition is now fed. Local doctors are trained by our own and are administering antibiotics, ensuring a coast of stronger nations for our homecoming.

         "Back home, thanks to the Dracel card, every American citizen DNA code is encrypted in their respective card.  Citizens will receive an email stating they have been matched with their original tribe.  Each port in America has been assigned African ports to which the people on that respective ship will sail to be reunioned with their ancestral relatives.

         "The ships are all luxary cruise liners...the finest you have every seen. And...before you ask who's paying for all of this, consider it a gift from USA Corp. Not a single penny...or should I say not a single point of American citizen money will be used to fund Sankofa 2019...I mean 2020.  USA Corp is funding the entire initiative.

         "And finally, Sankofa 2020 is going to be unveiled in America, next week, on the Fourth of July. They same day all of you American officers, soldiers of freedom and peace, will return home to be reunited with your American families first.  Yes, you are going home!"

    The crowd is now completely delirious. People are crying and embracing one another. Jamison finishes,
         "You have been relieved of your duty as of right now!"

    One of the hanger tremendous doors open wide to reveal a troop of men and women, all dressed in black uniforms march out in tight formation. The "new" soldiers all walk in unison with a stone look on their faces and do not break despite the overwhelmingly loud cheering. Dexter stands to get a better look but he is not cheering.  In fact, his face also carries the same stone expression.

         "The USA Corp has hired a military trained force of men and women to watch over the highway, care for the safety of all American citizens as well return home in Sankofa! THANK YOU!"

    The crowd explodes in one final applause and cheer. Jamison steps down from the podium, hugs and kisses his wife. He shakes the hands of Dr. Mackie, the dignitaries, and makes his way back to his brother.
         "So, big brother. Didn't I tell you?! Change...the...WORLD!"
    Dexter looks at Jamison, totally astonished, says nothing and walks away.  Jamison is left, standing in disbelief that his brother said nothing,
         "Are you serious?! Nothing?! You have NOTHING to say?!"

    Dexter keeps walking through the crowd and finds his way to Sgt. Baker.
    Shane grabs Dexter and hugs him, completely dropping protocol, not caring if anyone is paying attention,
         "Dex, we are definitely going home. AND...we have a wedding to plan!"
    Dexter says nothing. His attention is fixed on the military group dressed in black and still standing at attention,
         "Shane...have you noticed..."
    Dexter pauses and continues to scan the private troop of soldiers before he speaks another word,
         "...have you noticed..."
    Dexter begins to walk in the direction of the USA Corp troops.  Shane stops Dexter, without force, by taking his arm,
         "Dex...are you ok? Have I noticed...?"
    Dexter is still fixated on the troops. He answers,
         "Have you noticed they are all white?"
    Shane turns to study the faces of the troops. Dexter continues,
         "Every west African nation on the continent welcoming black Americans by the millions...and not a single black face among them."
    Dexter turns to Shane,
         "And that doesn't concern you?"
    Shane follows,
         "The better question is why doesn't it concern your brother?"

    The celebration continues all around the two men...all but them.


    1. Ominous. I'm with Dexter.... Something just isn't right! Another excellent chapter of suspense and intrigue. I'm not sure about the Passage Home....

    2. Nice, T!! Ish just got real!! I love it!!!


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