“My God, you are the real one! I can’t believe it. I should have trusted you.”
Richard had missed the freedom he enjoyed with his friends. Since he became the son of the president, he had been under constant surveillance. He was only 11 years old.
He hated it. On several occasions, he thought he had outwitted the security people. But within seconds he was traced back and deposited at the safe places.
The words which he thought he was whispering on the mobile phone to his girl friend from his locked bed room was replayed back to him the next day.
He started suffering from severe constipation. From his early childhood, he loved his privacy. Toilet was his place of relaxation. He could sit in his toilet for hours-singing and reading. But since he became the son of the president, his private territory was also watched. He tried once to sneak out through the toilet window. That was the biggest mistake he made. From that day onwards he lost his singing interest in the toilet. He tried to read but could not concentrate. He could hear the security guard counting the minutes he spent in the toilet. The anger within his system had suppressed the freedom of the bowel movements. He had ashamed his father, the honorable president by polluting the air in the dining room in the presence of the foreign dignitaries.
Exactly 2 months after becoming the son of the president, he was sent to exile –boarding school in a foreign country.
After mixing up with his friends in the new school, he realized he was not the only one who suffered from lack of freedom. He talked to his father everyday but sometimes he felt his father was not listening to him properly, he only said the routine words-“How are you son? Behave well and study well”-and the line would go dead. Many years later he found out that they were the pre-recorded telephone conversations.
During long school holidays he was allowed to come back home. But during those days also he saw his father more often on the TV screen than in person. He even forgot the names of some of his old friends. Even if he remembered some of them, he could not mix with them.
As he grew up, if he was allowed, he preferred spending time in another country.
His father, the Honorable President won the 2nd term election again. That meant he would remain as the President’s son for another 5 more years. By the time the presidency would be over, he would surpass his teenage delinquency as well. He felt he had not been given a fair chance.
At the end of the 9th year of the Presidency, there was a catastrophe. The revolutionary insurgents shot down the helicopter when the President was visiting the flood victims in a remote village.
The following year a general election was called. With the emotional sensitization of the ill fate of the late President, his widow was nominated as the presidential candidate of the ruling party. She won with a landslide victory. That simply meant another 5 years or could even be another 10 years more for Charles to remain as the president’s son.
After completing high school while waiting to go to the university, Charles decided to spend time at home. The security was even tighter. He was already 20 years old, he knew the reasons well but his urge to feel free was still very strong.
He told his mother, the President that he was going to tour South Africa. He was escorted up to the airport. Checked in with the Diplomatic passport and took off with SA airline to Johannesburg. The next day he was back in Nairobi, used his East African passport and came to Tanzania via Arusha/Moshi by Scandinavian Bus. Got down at Ubungo and checked in a local guest house. As he grew up outside the country, not many people knew him by face. Nobody even got the slightest suspicion about his identity even though he used the real name and surname. He moved around breathing the free air and atmosphere.
In that short time he made new friends. In the afternoons, under the scorching heat he played football in the local fields. In the evenings he ate roasted meat from the street vendors. At night he slept like a log.
During those ten days, Charles had seen and felt the freedom he had been longing for.
But more important was the experience about life which he learnt by watching, by being together and closer, by talking and by listening to the ordinary people. Just after 10 days experience he felt more matured, more understanding and developed a patriotic feeling to serve and help the people in need.
There was a particular young man whom he found very interesting. He met him in an internet café. Arnold, the orphan young man was hard working with high future hopes but with limited resource. He worked as the hardware computer mechanic and thus got free computer lessons. He dreamt of owning a small computer workshop of his own one day.
Charles promised to help him if he was allowed to but Arnold ignored.
Nearly 2 months had passed. One day at the internet café door, a neatly dressed young gentleman was looking for Arnold. At first sight Arnold could not recognize Charles. A closure look made him realize who was standing there. He even joked whether Charles was the best man of a marriage party. When Charles re-introduce himself with a clearer pronunciation of his surname and his willingness to offer help, Arnold could not believe his ears “My God, you are the real one! I can’t believe it. I should have trusted you.”
On his way back, Charles passed by the Local football club whose members allowed him to play with them. He presented 3 balls with the sports gear for the whole team.
He went willingly and happily to start his university life. To his surprise, he even imagined a far possibility of being the future president himself. He smiled to himself at the crazy thought.
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