A short plump old man walked me to a large metal door. He struggled to unlock the large golden lock, swung from one side to the other. Clinch, clinch, the lock finally unlocked. He opened the door and signaled me with his head to enter.
“Are there any tour guides?” I asked
“No tour guide. I’m told you have all the necessary information you need. Get in!”
I slowly walked into the dark wall with dim lights.
“Don’t come out this side, there is another door at the other end!”
The door slowly closed behind me, making the hall even darker inside. I stood there a few seconds to get myself accustomed to the hall.
I walked a few meters and found myself in a narrow corridor. Pictures and other artefacts hang articulately on the walls. I could hardly see the names of the fallen heroes on pictures. I knew their faces though. I have heard their stories and had fallen in love with them all, I mean all. If I could write them love letters, I would write;
“Dear Sir Julius Gamez
Your moustache says it all. You were that handsome man every woman would want to date. You were a treasure to us, as a nation and your family, I miss you.
I can imagine you walking past the Africa Unity Square with your wife, Georgina (Forgive me if that’s not her name but it suits her anyway) and your two lovely daughters. Your family wanted you by their side but you chose us, you chose your nation. Please do send me love from wonderland. RIP”
You were very young when the enemy’s bullet send you to wonderland, just in your mid twenties. You were brave and I love you for your bravery.
Are you married now? I wonder who the luck lady is to have such a wonderful man in wonderland.
Your story is relayed of an event where you dogged a hundred bullets or even more, who was there to make a proper count? The burnt walls of the enemy base you put on fire on a Christmas Eve still stands, each tine I pass the place I love you more and more. RIP”
“Dear Roger Rogers
I love that great smile you carry everyday. You are never sad or angry with anyone, you smile day and night. You smile to the whole nation, visitors and even enemies.
When they sent you to wonderland they didn’t only take a soldier from us, but love. We have lost love, I beg you sent us love from wonderland.
They called you Busterman , but I call you ‘Dr Love'. How do you manage to smile all day long and to every one? I can’t seem to get the sense but you do it. Yes, you love us all.
Who rang the wedding bells for Mr President when he got married? I guess its you. Gong, gong, went the bells in the hands of little Dr Love, wearing a black bow tie and white shirt. I cant stop to imagine how you felt with the whole town looking at you walk down the red carpet with purple jacaranda flowers on it.
The day you were called for duty you followed comrade Tashinga with a smile on your face. The day must have been a Wednesday, I guess. You patrolled the Mazi forest, spend days pursuing the enemy. One day you were called to wonderland. RIP brave soldier!”
If I could name you, I would call you ‘Sunshine. Your broad smile and pure white teeth brings light to then nation. You should have been at the beauty academy contesting for Miss World title, but you chose your nation. You were a beauty inside and outside.
I love you ‘Sunshine’ RIP in wonderland.”
The photo shoot day must have been a bad day for you, I love your look anyway. That no nonsense look means a lot me and our nation at large.
You marched thousands of miles, swam alongside crocodiles and hippos. Many times you escaped the jaws of the lion. You did all this not for your self but for us.
A great singer you were, a great entertainer, a great soldier, father of the nation, I love you. The great disease of the jungle of 1949 took you to the wonderland. RIP.”
I can’t call you by your real name, sorry if that offends you. You would have become a great teacher, engineer or doctor but you chose freedom of the nation and joy to all. If I could take your portrait to the jungle it will recognise you. The birds would sing sweet melodies to the ‘son of the soil’, a brave soldier, a great father. I salute you.
Your high school days must have been fantastic with every girl calling you ‘Love'. You left all that behind and chose your nation. In school uniform you crossed the border to a military camp. You made it in history. Wonderland is blessed with you. RIP.”
“Joram, are you done?”
The voice of Sir Platz disturbed me. I did not hear him coming in.
“No, not yet sir.” I responded.
“We are behind time remember!”
“I didn’t get any help.”
“You were not supposed to. Follow me!” said Sir Platz taking a lead.
I followed him across the hall. It was far much bigger than I had imagined. We went past all sorts of artifacts. I wondered who had done such a collection and how long it took then to fill in this massive building. I wanted to ask questions, but I couldn’t, Sir Platz didn’t have time for that.
Sir Platz stopped just before a big glass cabinet full of small pieces of artefacts. It displayed a very spectacular workmanship, metal, bronze, silver and gold. Sir Platz brings out a small piece of a golden bird and posed it in front of me. He handed me a pair of gloves.
“I want you to look for a similar bird in the cabinet, put in your pocket and replace it with this one.”
“Do as I say! Fast! We don’t have the whole life to do this.”
“I’m sorry I can’t do it sir………..”
“Just do it. No one will know it’s you, I have switched off all the cameras. You need money to cover up some of your school projects but you are here trying to act innocent.”
“But it’s locked,” I responded.
Sir Platz handed me a small key. I opened the cabinet with shivering hands, replaced the gold bird with a new one.
“Put in your pocket, make sure it doesn’t fly away,” said Sir Platz as he turned to go.
I wanted to follow him but he signalled me to use the other exit.
I walked to the other end, I could hear the bird singing in my pocket,
‘you are a thief, you have stolen, stolen, you thief………..’
I passed the checkpoint, no alarm biped, such was a relief. I didn’t want it but I had no option.
The moment I stepped out a hand grabbed me and led me to a small room.