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About this City Journal

Desera, once known as the desolate desert in the middle of the Atlantic, begins to blossom.

Entries in this City Journal

nedal2001

Well, I had some time to play some Simcity - As I said before, the wife is pregnant (4 months now!) so all my time has been dedicated to being with her

:) Here is a teaser of what is to come in the update before the end of the month!

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nedal2001

Night Tour Around Downtown Kafra

Today, we will be taking a tour during the night around the developing downtown neighborhood of Kafra!

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We will end the tour with a small mosaic of downtown Kafra, looking west (north is right, west is up).

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nedal2001

Alright, so I don't know how many of you would be interested in this sort of things, but when I started this CJ, I decided to incorporate an information sheet for it that has slowly expanded. Basically, in my desire to make running Desera as realistic as possible, I created some excel sheets that showed what the country was making and spending, as well as some other tidbits. I know that my formulas are very, very basic, but for anyone with an interest in these sort of things, it might be worth a look! I update the information sheets along with every update, although this latest version is still a work in progress! Anyway, here is the link for anyone interested in seeing things like Desera's GDP, Exports, Imports, Government Spendings, Army Capabilities, and other stuff!

nedal2001

Year Eight

It happened suddenly and in the dead of night; the village of Tarini, deep in the Borkan Mountains and with a population of 4,530 and growing, was awakened by the sound of mortars exploding and helicopters approaching. Led by Prince Diallo Mallam, the Deseran Armed Forces moved against the Torani rebellion, causing heavy damage to the infrastructure of the village and sending the overmatched Torani rebels fleeing deeper in the mountains. Conquering the area was one thing, but defending and keeping hold of it was another thing entirely. The Torani tribe, known as the fiercest fighters throughout the history of Desera, began employing guerilla tactics, hitting the Deseran Armed Forces and running, chipping away at their enemy little by little. The leader of the tribe, Anwar Torani (who previously held a post in the Deseran Council), was reportedly injured in the initial attack, but had since been nursed back to health and was the main coordinator behind the hit and run tactics. Almost all of the Borkan Mountains was loyal to Anwar Torani, even though they remained under the watchful eye of the federal forces. They viewed the Deseran Armed Forces not as their own, but as an occupier, a foreign force that had invaded their land. As Year Eight drew to a close, the army was in control of most of the Borkan Mountains, but was struggling to inflict much damage on the new fugitive Torani rebels.

While Prince Diallo wanted an iron fist to control the Borkan Mountains, his father and Royal President Sidebe Mallam began implementing an initiative to win its loyalty another way. He instructed the Desera Council to set up several representative branches throughout the rugged area, with aim of distributing welfare, food, and free healthcare services to the people there. While many in the council disagreed with that method (it was, after all, money that would have went directly to their pockets), after witnessing the ruthlessness and efficiency of the Deseran Army led by Prince Diallo, there was no public discontent. The initiative, called the “We Are One” program, was implemented very late in Year Eight, and the full results would not be known for at least one year of testing.

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Shots of the Borkan Mountains.

Back in Kafra, the major story of Year Eight was the completion of the new seaport, officially called the Damas Port, named after the area it was built in. The Damas Port was the largest project undertaken by the Desera Council, costing the government E1 billion upon completion. The Kafra Seaport, which had become much too small to handle the cargo that was coming into the country daily, was turned into a fishing port, although rumors abound that the council was planning on destroying it completely. The new port’s effect on the commercial and industrial sectors of Kafra was expected to be big, with major growth predicted in them during Year Nine.

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The Damas Seaport to the west of Kafra.

For the first time since its founding, Kafra’s population growth rate slowed from the previous year, increasing to 49,411. The slowdown was mostly due to the fact that fewer nomadic families from Desera’s rural areas found their way to the capital city during Year Eight, giving the Desera Council some relief and time to help invest in the city’s infrastructure and catch up with its growth. The slums and shanty towns surrounding central Kafra showed almost no expansion – instead, the area north of the University of Kafra was developed from clay one story houses to more elegant and luxurious Deseran Revivalist buildings, in line with the rest of central Kafra.

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On the other side of Masjid Street, in western Kafra, the industrial sector showed major expansion, no doubt spurred by the promise the new Damas Seaport had brought with it. Warehouses were constructed at a rapid pace, and there were even some small, light manufacturing plants that opened its doors for business, to cater to the local market. Western Kafra had become the industrial and trading heart of the city since the old Kafra Seaport was converted into a fishing dock, and center of Kafra, which was once the trading hub of the city, had begun slowly shifting from the wholesale and trade activities into a more retail and service oriented district.

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Replies

NMUSpidey: The climate is northern West African - arid, dry, savannah/semi-desert like temperature and terrain - there are some storms that come through, but nothing like what the western Atlantic sees. We have Dry season and a Rainy season, and lots and lots of humidity!

Dudely: The West African coastline is basically flat and sandy, with rainforest pretty much all the way right up to the coast! Thanks for the comment!

art128: Thank you!

mystic destiny: Lol, Im sure that development will catch up to its location to the west of Kafra one of these days :)

Luiz P. Romanini: I hope I lived up to the standard I had set before!

TekindusT: Thank you :)

10000000000000: After I had completed it, I figured the barriers were way too close to the port itself - I will get to changing it sometime soon :) Thank you for commenting!

nedal2001

The Damas Seaport

Damas Seaport

Desera has a new center for logistics – the brand new Damas Seaport, situated just a few miles west of the nation’s capital city of Kafra. After three years of work and an investment of E1 billion, Desera is ready to become a player in the trade and logistics sectors, positioning itself as a prime investment center in the West African region thanks to its modern seaport. The city of Kafra, which already has an international airport that directly connects the country with several capitals both in Europe and in West Africa, has earned its reputation as a prime location in terms of opportunities and investment, and the Damas Seaport with further facilitate and back that claim!

With the future in mind, the Desera Council has built the port with a long term vision in mind, and the hopes are that the Damas Seaport will be able to handle Desera’s import and export for years to come. However, it does not stop there – the council has also already drawn up blueprints for both a Phase Two and a Phase Three, which are expansion plans for when the time comes. The E1 billion investment will open up several doors for the country, and, as stated before, foreign investment is sure to be one of them. Just outside the port, the government has constructed a bunch of warehouses that can be rented daily or monthly, in order to help ease storage cost for both importers and exporters. With the Damas Seaport now fully operational, there has never been a better time to call Desera home for your business!

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nedal2001

Year Seven

Year Seven was a turbulent one in the short history of the new nation – the first sign of trouble appeared when the leader of Torani tribe, Anwar Torani, challenged and insulted the rest of the Desera Council, which led to a flare-up that almost spiraled out of control. The Torani tribe, which resided in the Borkan Mountains in northern Desera and were known as the fiercest fighters in the land, then announced that it would no longer report to the Desera Council, and that the Borkan Mountains were now an autonomous state within Desera. This, of course, did not sit well with the rest of the tribes, some of whom wanted immediate action and others who wanted the replicate what Anwar Torani had done. It had put the Royal President Sidebe Mallam in the tightest position of his seven year reign, telling his son, Prince Diallo Mallam, no matter what was decided, Desera “would lose.”

Under the new threat from the Borkan Mountains, the Royal President secretly gave the green light to his son to begin stocking up the Deseran Armed Forces for an imminent invasion of the Borkan Mountains. The Royal President did this with a heavy heart and without the console of his council – he knew that the Desera Council’s unity was now at its weakest and most fragile point, and only a show of power could win back the loyalty of the other tribal leaders. It was not his way; indeed, he detested the decision he had to take, but it had to be done, and he knew no one more fit for the job than his own militant son, Prince Diallo. As Year Seven drew to a close, the military was in preparation for its first test – to recapture the Borkan Mountains.

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A typical village in the Borkan Mountains.

Back in Kafra, the local economy was really picking up, which led to the Desera Council’s approval to construct a new headquarters for the Bank of Desera. The twelve story building was built across from the University of Kafra on Masjid Street, costing the Ministry of Finance E40 million upon completion. The old Bank of Desera building, which sat across from the House of Council, was still operational as a branch of the bank, but all the administrative offices were moved to the new building. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance was moved out of the House of Council and took over the last three floors of the new building, which was officially christened the Bank of Desera HQ Building.

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Kafra’s population was 41,077 at the end of Year Seven, as growth continued to be extremely high. Most newcomers lived in the shanty towns that surrounded central Kafra, but there were some well-off families, mostly from western Africa and the Middle East region, who had immigrated to Desera and set up a home in the new nation. Unemployment, however, was beginning to become an issue the council had to tackle – a lot of the poor that were setting up homes in Kafra were finding it hard to get jobs. The industrial and commercial sectors, while growing, were not keeping up with the huge spike in population, while the federal government was not setting up enough projects to employ a large number of people. There was one project, however, that was started towards the end of the year that promised to employ quite a good amount of people – the new Kafra seaport project. Situated to the west of the city, the new seaport was going to cost the Deseran government almost E800 million in its entirety, and the contractors were a mix of foreign companies and local ones.

The Desera Council, amidst all the chaos that was going on inside of it, managed also to set up a new team which was tasked with exploring the natural resources of Desera, both known and unknown. It was called the Deseran Natural Resources Authority (DNRA), and their first mission, to begin in Year Eight, was to find out what other natural resources and minerals was available in Desera other than oil.

With the exception of the Borkan Mountains, the Desera Council was finding success in setting up its authority across the land, and that was making it easier to spread the welfare system and investment in other parts of the country. Small villages and settlements were popping up everywhere, and in an end of year meeting, the council informed the Ministry of Transportation that it had to do better in create road access all across Desera. Their budget would be increased, despite most of the surplus in the government coffers going to the new seaport project, but results were expected in a year’s time, as well.

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A shot from the corner of Masjid Street and Beach Road.

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nedal2001

So today, I just wanted to showcase some pictures from around Kafra. Lets call it a glorified teaser!

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Kafra’s most prestigious neighborhood, Akhdar.

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By contrast, the slums that surround Mallam Road as it enters Kafra from the south.

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Masjid Street, around the University of Kafra, is a great place to find Deseran Revivalist architecture.

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Kafra’s industrial sector is slowly starting to grow, situated around the western end of the town.

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The Bahr Mosque and the Church of Peace on Masjid Street, across from the Kafra Fish Market, which comes alive in the dying hours of the night.

nedal2001

Seeds of a Rebellion

Thank you, TekindusT (Yes, as Kafra becomes richer, the shanty towns will continue to spread out of the center!), SimCoug, hammysonata, Mastof, and Mithrik! Your comments are very much appreciated! This update will focus on the storyline of the CJ - for those interested, the House of Council building is actually the CSX Palace of Justice BAT :)

Seeds of a Rebellion

Anwar Torani had heard enough. Merfil Hamana was at it again, babbling on about how his people were getting the short end of the stick when it came to welfare distribution, all while work was being done day and night in order to complete his new E2 million mansion in Akhdar. The nerve of these people, Torani thought, the sheer audacity. The worst part about it, the most frustrating part, was seeing the Royal President sit back and say nothing. How could he?! Torani never understood it, and he never would. How could Sidebe Mallam, first Royal President of Desera, sit back and listen to this garbage while he knew full well the systematic corruption that was beginning to eat this council alive. If Mallam was going to be quiet, Torani certainly was not. Not anymore.

“Enough!” screamed Torani. The entire council, which just seconds before had been an incomprehensible noise of loud voices trying to talk over each other, turned completely silent. “If I had my way, all of you would be thrown into prison for the blatant theft you all have been a part of. Shame on you. All of you!”

No sooner had Torani completed that sentence did another member of the council, Kamel Shallam, speak up in an even louder voice. “How DARE you – who in the world do you think you are?”

Recognizing the situation was about to about to spiral out of control, the Royal President intervened. “Alright, quiet, both of you. It has been along session, and some of you have long trips ahead of you. We will pick up after…”

All of sudden, the Royal President’s voice was drowned out by Torani. “No! This will not continue! It cannot do. I will not be part of this mess any longer!”

“You watch how you talk to your leader!” interrupted Prince Diallo Mallam, the Royal President’s eldest son. “I will have thrown into jail for blasphemy and treason, you runt!” He reached for his Desert Eagle, conveniently placed on his waist.

Anwar Torani looked around the room, observing his colleagues and the so-called leaders of the nation. Truthfully, he had no respect for almost all of them, and he could not allow himself to be part their game any longer. He had to watch his next move, however – a wrong move and he knew the Prince would be true to his word. The Torani tribe was known as the fiercest warriors in Desera, but he was not in the Borkan Mountains, where they hailed from – he was in Kafra, stronghold of the Mallam tribe and home to the Deseran Armed Forces. He already knew what had to be done - it was just a matter of getting himself and his personal guards out of the city safe and alive.

“You are right, my prince. My temper got the best of me, as it has so often in the past. I apologize, my Royal President. Please forgive me.”

Never a harsh man, Royal President Sidebe Mallam smiled and replied, “No forgiveness necessary, my old friend. As I said, it has been a long day. We all need our rest.” He looked towards his son with a stern look and said, “Diallo, remove your hand from there at once! I will NOT have such barbaric actions in my council!”

The Prince hesitantly complied with his father’s wishes, all while keeping his eyes on Torani. For his part, Anwar Torani breathed a silent sigh of relief, and immediately dismissed himself. He called for his guards to prepare the motorcade, consisting of two SUVs, to pick him up at the front entrance of the House of Council on Mallam Road – the only way out of Kafra. He wanted to waste no time and take no chances by heading towards the SUVs in the parking lot behind the building – he might have been safe in the presence of the Royal President, but there was no telling what would happen afterwards. He knew now that Mallam no longer had control over his council – it was they who controlled him. Without them, his reign as Royal President would be short, and it was only through the other tribal leaders acceptance of him was his he still ruling. He was not a bad man, but he no longer was to be Royal President of the Torani tribe. As Kafra disappeared in the distance, Anwar Torani had made up his mind – the Borkan Mountains was no longer under the rule of Kafra.

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The House of Council in Kafra.

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A typical village in the Borkan Mountains.

nedal2001

Year Six

It was bound to happen – as with every other nation on Earth, those with access to money and power became corrupted by it. All over the southern coastline of Kafra, slums were destroyed to make way for the large estates and mansions of the politically powerful, mostly tribal leaders and other prominent members of the Desera Council. Money that was being given through the council’s welfare scheme to the different tribes was not all making its way back to their respective areas – some of it was being kept in the pockets of those entrusted with it, and being spent in Kafra to build themselves luxurious homes and the like. What a difference a year makes, truly.

Unfortunately for the Royal President Sidebe Mallam, there was little he could do. As much as it pained him to see corruption begin to reveal its ugly head, he needed the support of the tribal leaders now more than ever. The Desera Council was operating as usual, but behind the scenes, trouble was always brewing. There was an uneasy truce between the members of the council, one that was not without its share of fighting. If the council was to fall apart, so too would the legitimacy of the Deseran government led by Mallam – at that point, who knows what foreign powers with their eye towards Deseran resources might do. For the sake of peace and progress, the Royal President had to turn a blind eye towards the corruption or else risk upsetting the balance of the council.

He was now 51 years old – his son and heir, Prince Diallo Mallam, 28 years old. It was the young prince who had brought the investors initially to Desera, and it was through these investors and the riches they brought with them that Mallam named himself Royal President. Lately, however, the prince was constantly at odds with his father – he thought Desera was progressing too slowly and wanted less responsibility in the hands of the Desera Council, which he proclaimed was the reason the nation was being held back. In response to the growing dissent amongst the other tribal leaders, Prince Diallo doubled the size of the Deseran Army, which was loyal to the ruling family. Additionally, he was attempting to persuade his father to set up a division of the Deseran Armed Forces whose sole responsibility would be to protect the Royal Presidency – a Royal Guard, of sorts. A wiser man than his son, the Royal President rejected the notion, claiming that other tribal leaders would view that as a threat to their own power and would rebel. Secretly, the Royal President was worried – it seemed the prince had little regard for the consequences of his suggested actions, and would rather resort to violence than diplomacy to get his way.

Kafra saw its greatest growth to date in Year Six, with its population doubling in a single to over 30,000 residents. While there were a few families, mostly West Africans, that had immigrated to the nation in hopes of finding a better life, the vast majority of Kafra’s new residents were former nomadic families who settled in the capital city because of the economic opportunities, healthcare, and educational facilities. The Desera Council was having trouble keeping up and controlling the sprawling shanty towns that were growing in every direction. Central and eastern Kafra’s streets were lined with trees standing in front of what architects were calling Deseran Revivalist buildings. Drawing inspiration from 17th and 18th century European architecture, Deseran Revivalist buildings were similar to the type of buildings one would see in London, Paris, or New York, and even included a hint of Mediterranean architecture found in Italy and Spain. It was the Royal President’s love for that type of architecture that led to the construction of these types of buildings, which were most evident on Masjid Street heading towards the University Roundabout.

The commercial center of the city had shifted east, while warehouses and other light industrial buildings began finding a home towards the west of Kafra, also on Masjid Street. After completion of the University of Kafra, construction around the area sprung up seemingly overnight, and while most traders and wholesalers still did their business in the area just north of the Kafra Seaport, retailers and service oriented businesses saw a shift towards the eastern end of Masjid Street. The university in itself was described by the Royal President as Desera’s finest achievement. The architecture was Deseran Revivalist through and through, and its three halls were home to over 3,000 students during its first term. Also on campus was the Sidebe Mallam Stadium, which also was named the official stadium for all future outdoor national teams. The entire university project cost almost E100 million upon completion, but it was safe to say that the investment in education was going to pay that off fairly quickly.

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Above: The first three pictures are of the new commercial center of Kafra, the last three are of the University of Kafra.

The area between the Kafra Beach Hotel and the University of Kafra quickly became the most expensive and sought after address in town, serving as a continuation for the southern coastal area where estates and mansions were built. By the end of Year Six, the area became known as the Akhdar neighborhood, which translates into the word green, because of lushness of trees and grass that could be found there. In addition to serving as the neighborhood of residence for several of Desera’s most prominent individuals, it also housed important foreign envoys and ambassadors, with the mansions serving as embassies as well as the official residences.

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The most immediate concern for the Desera Council as the town swelled to a population of over 30,000 was the fact that the Kafra Seaport was now too small to handle the load required of it. Plans had to be drawn up for a new seaport, both of bulk containers and for its oil and gas industry. A lot of money was now being put into the welfare schemes in hopes of betting the lives of its people, but an estimated E1 billion to be made available for the new seaport. How this was going to be possible was not yet clear, but it was a most pressing matter.

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nedal2001

Year Five

The decision to construct the House of Council was not a thoroughly planned one – it happened from the frustration of the Royal President after yet another long winded argument between departments over who gets what space. During a Desera Council meeting, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Finance both declared they needed more space to operate efficiently, something the Independence Hall lacked. An argument over who would get the final two available offices in the building led to the head of the Ministry of Transportation, Jaleel Borkani (also head of the Borkani tribe of northwestern Desera), to storm out of the meeting. At that point, the Royal President Sidebe Mallam’s temper flared, and he declared the illegal houses next to the Independence Hall be cleared and immediate work to start on a new building to house the council and its departments. The Independence Hall would continue to serve as his residence and his office, the Royal President declared, but would have nothing more to do with the Desera Council.

Indeed, work started immediately, and after its completion, the government had spent almost E30 million on the project as a whole. The architect was a local man, Haitham Banja, who had just finished his degree in the United States, and was given the task of designing a building befitting to Deseran culture. The Royal President, in his meeting with Banja told him of the importance of the building and how it had to be a reflection of Desera as a whole. In the end, pretty much everyone was extremely happy with the result.

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Towards the end of Year Five, the Desera Council officially opened to the public the Kafra Beach Hotel – initially, the name Kafra Palace was given to the project, but the Royal President felt the name did not befit the architecture, and so the name was changed. The project, which cost E80 million, was the second largest the council had undertaken, with only the Kafra International Airport costing more. The adjacent beach was given to the hotel property, and easily became the country’s most popular destination during the weekends.

The Kafra Beach Hotel had a total of 243 rooms, including 10 suites, as well as 3 restaurants and a nightclub. The regular other services were there, too, such as swimming pools, a spa, and access to its own private beach. It was, by far, the tallest building in the country, and had a second, smaller building whose rooms were rented out as private residences, generally used by foreign dignitaries and businessmen who were staying in Kafra for a few weeks or months at a time. The guest rooms were equipped with modern technology – satellite TV and internet, 40” LED screens (55” in the suites), marble bathrooms, and elegant interior design. Many of the middle and upper class families of Kafra chose to stay at the hotel for the weekend, enjoying the services and hospitality.

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Desera’s oil production of 5,000 barrels per day doubled during Year Five, as investment was poured in to the oil sector by the government. More importantly, however, was the ground breaking on a new refinery that would mean the country would no longer have to import refined oil, and instead be able to use its own to meet the its growing demands. The Yelmara Refinery, named after the area where the oil was being extracted from some 150 miles north of Kafra, was due to become operational in around two years, and initial costs put it around E150 miliion. Nevertheless, the majority of Desera’s oil production would still be exported, but the fact that the country would be able to support itself in terms of its oil demand would mean subsidies on the resource for the general public, something that would help the economy in a big way.

In Kafra, planning was being done to begin work on a university, as the Royal President continued to insist that education was the way forward for the country. As educated labor force, he claimed, had to be the pillar and backbone of Desera’s economy. Although there was no official word on the location or details of the university, it was hardly a secret around town that the project was due to commence any day. The most likely location, it was presumed, was either north of the city on Mallam Road, or to the east of it, down Masjid Street and to the north of the new Kafra Beach Hotel. Obviously, however, there were still no details on how the Desera Council was going to make it affordable for the common family to be able to send their children to this university.

Kafra’s population was now at over 15,000, and there were no signs that the growth was going to slow down anytime soon. The Desera Council was becoming aware that they had to do more to spur on private investment, both in the capital city and in the country – they needed local and foreign companies to create jobs and bring money into the system. This was one of the council’s main objectives going forward.

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nedal2001

Year Four

From nothing to over ten thousand people in just four years – what an accomplishment. The Royal President Sidebe Mallam reflected back at the beginnings of Kafra, when ground was broken on the Kafra Powerplant and the Kafra Seaport. It had come a long way since then – granted, most of the growth was unplanned and chaotic, with shanty towns covering all corners of the capital city, but there was also beauty. The Independence Hall, which also served as the seat of the Desera Council and the Royal Residence, was the first permanent building constructed inside of Kafra, surrounded by green grass, a rare sight in the hostile desert. The Bahr Mosque, although small compared to other such buildings around the world, was the heart of the town, along with the Kafra Church of Peace. Around them were the residences of the tribal leaders and the small but growing middle class of Kafra. The streets that their homes sat on were lined with trees, and their gardens lush with greenery.

Few knew, but Royal President Mallam had become obsessed with European architecture after visiting London and Paris the previous year. He wanted Deseran architecture to mimic those 18th and 19th century buildings he saw, and imagined a day that Kafra would be as steeped in history as those two capitals. The Independence Hall itself was designed after a similar building that stood in Philadelphia in the United States, and there were quite a few buildings in Kafra that were being constructed in that American/European 19th century style. Still, most of the town was made of houses one would generally find the poorer areas of a North African/Middle Eastern town, which made sense because of Desera’s large Arabic heritage and influence. The Royal President quite disliked the look of the town, but in order to grow the country, he knew he had to first establish a capital city worth something, and for that he needed population.

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In terms of civic infrastructure, the capital city of Kafra had the necessities – the Desera Council had just completed the Kafra Public Hospital and the Kafra Preparatory School, at the cost of E10 million and E5 million, respectively. While the only fee a family had to pay for public education was the E100 enrollment charge per child, healthcare was not free. Instead, the Desera Council devised the National Healthcare Insurance (NHI) company, which was a wholly own government subsidy. Anyone covered with the NHI would receive free healthcare at the Kafra Public Hospital, and the fees were made very affordable on purpose so that the general population could receive the healthcare they needed.

Commercial activity had also become relevant in Kafra, with people from all over the country coming down to central Kafra to do business, both with fellow Deserans and foreigners. A lot of Kafrawis (Kafrawi is the name given to residents of the capital city) where supporting themselves and families through fishing, and the Kafra Fish Market had become an extremely busy place, especially during the morning. Overall, there was no question it was the commercial hub of Desera, and there was even a few companies who had constructed warehousing down the western end of Masjid Street, mostly to store and wholesale food stuff products.

The population of Kafra at the end of Year Four was officially listed at 10,888, again doubling in size in just one year’s time. The Royal President knew steps had to be taken to facilitate planned urban growth, and the road network in Kafra had to be upgraded in order for such growth to happen. The Desera Council had some excess money in the coffers, and it was time to spend them. Almost E30 million were being put into building 22 branches of the Bank of Desera around the country. A further E10 was going to be invested in further developing the road network in and around Kafra. The biggest project to be undertaken in the coming year, however, was the contruction of the Kafra Palace Hotel, a government owned hotel that was going to cost about E80 million upon completion. With Kafra growing so fast, and the oil industry also poised for growth in the next few years, the council expected to see more high-end visitors to Desera, and needed a place to put them. The private sector was still very young and weak, making such developments impossible to fund, so it was up to the council to make it.

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The Kafra Palace Hotel project.

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A sandstorm encompasses Kafra near as the night starts to fade.

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Year Three

Year Three

The biggest happening in Year Three was, bar none, the commencement of service by Desera Airlines. Having taken delivery of a brand new Airbus 320-200, the airline began flying to six destinations: London, Paris, Dakar, Abidjan, Accra, and Lagos. The European destinations were twice weekly non-stop flights, called flights NA0001 and NA0002. The third flight, NA0003, was Kafra-Dakar-Abidjan-Dakar-Kafra, operated once a week to the two francophone capitals of West Africa. The final flight, serving Accra and Lagos, was also flown once a week to the two largest English speaking cities in West Africa.

The airline was heralded as a huge success by the Desera Council, and saw almost maximum capacity in each of its flights since it began operating. The Royal President Sidebe Mallam flew in the inaugural flight to London, arriving in the United Kingdom for the first time in hopes of finding investment to further increase the oil production in Desera. The West African flights saw many foreign traders coming in to invest in the new country, having heard of the low taxes and lack of import duty. Overall, the airline was, indeed, a resounding success and a project well done by the Ministry of Transportation and the Desara Aviation Authority, one that brought in the admiration and approval of the Royal President.

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Kafra’s population during Year Three had jumped from 1,231 to 5,183 – a remarkable rate of growth that had the town’s population more than quadruple in just twelve months. Most of the development were small clay and tin houses that were extremely cheap to construct, and were done without the approval of the Desera Council or acquiring the land they sat on. For the time being, the council was turning a blind eye towards these happenings, in hopes of continuing the expansion of the town.

In the southern part of the town, closest to the coast, the houses constructed were mostly by fishermen who had found the comfort of life in Kafra much kinder than the harsh life in the rural desert. Every morning, hundreds of small wooden boats would come in from the Atlantic with fresh fish, the market of which could be found on Masjid Street, opposite the newly constructed Kafra Church of Peace. The nicer part of town was more central - whenever a land was sold legally through the government, the Desera Council would send out the Kafra Police to clear the plot of any illegal dwellers, but they would simply move to an area further out and construct yet another illegal house.

Speaking the Kafra Church of Peace, its construction was an initiative taken by the Desera Council to make sure that the small but growing Christian population in the country had a place of worship. In an effort to show solidarity between its people, it chose to construct the church just opposite the Bahr Mosque, on the corner of Masjid Street and 1st Street. The project cost around E5 million to be completed and was aptly named the Kafra Church of Peace, a symbolic name that stood for the Deseran hope that they would always have peace.

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The Kafra Church of Peace and Bahr Mosque.

Another project that the Desera Council, through the Ministry of Finance, was the Bank of Desera, on the corner of Mallam Road and the newly constructed Bank Street. It was situated just opposite the Independence Hall, and was the first financial institution to be operation in the country. It was own fully by the Desera Council, and at the time of its completion, it was the most modern building in the entire country, save for Terminal One at the Kafra International Airport.

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The Bank of Desera and Independence Hall.

It was not all rosy behind the scenes, however – constant bickering between the tribal leaders in the Desera Council had left the Royal President in a bind. He was finding it impossible to please everyone, and some were even raising silent accusations that the Royal President was favoring his Mallam tribe more than the others. The Desera Council needed order and control, but that was difficult to do without alienating some of the tribes. In order for the council to continue to succeed, there had to be representatives of the majority of the tribes, especially the larger ones. It was still at a point where the bickering was just that, but if the disagreements continued, then the consequences would be more dire, especially as the country began to flourish.

For what it was worth, however, they were doing a decent job in Kafra and beyond. Small settlements were getting power and running water, as well as local representative offices of the Desera Council all over the country. In Kafra, even the illegal houses were all connected to the grid, they were putting a lot of money into developing the road network within the town to further facilitate its planned growth. They had also finally put in plans to begin construction on the Kafra Preparatory School and the Kafra Public Hospital. Education would be free to the public save for the E100 enrollment fee, but healthcare would not be. In response to that, however, the government would introduce the National Health Insurance (NHI), which would grant free healthcare for anyone registered with it.

The Royal President’s trip to Europe to bring in further investment into the country went reasonably well – his main aim was to increase the production of oil from 5,000 barrels a day to at least 10,000, and it looked like it was going to be able to happen. Although Desera was still seeing surpluses in its budgets (at the end of Year Three, it had around E500 million), it was also undertaking small projects that did not cost much. In order to develop the country, it would take a lot more than what they were making now to help facilitate that, and for that to happen, more oil needed to be exported.

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The Kafra Seaport, looking north.

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Central Kafra, looking south.

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Kafra, looking west.

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Kafra, looking south.

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Aerial of Kafra, looking south.

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Aerial of Kafra, looking north.

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Artistic shot of Kafra.

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Mosaic of Kafra.

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Location of Desera

The Land of Desera is located off the western coast of Africa, to the north of the Cape Verde Islands and south of the Canary Islands. The climate is dry and arid, making for a desert like setting across the country. It is made up of one large island (also called Desera), and several smaller islands surrounding it.

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Year Two

In the first real test for the Desera Council, Royal President Sidebe Mallam’s delegates were to construct the Kafra International Airport, an E200 million project that would take all of the council’s resources to finish. The Royal President was nervous and worried that they might break under the pressure and responsibility of such a project – after all, it had barely been a year since the Desera Council had been established, putting together the tribal leaders of the new nation in hopes of creating a better future for all. These were the same tribal leaders who had fought battles against one another, whose fore-fathers had fought gone to war against one another, so the anxiety was justified.

It was not all smooth sailing, but the project did get completed on time, and by the end of Year Two, Desera had a capable, relatively modern airport up and running. The sub-contractors were all European, but by request of the Royal President, they had to employ as many laborers as they could from the country, something which they did. That alone swelled up Kafra’s population from 770 to almost 1,300 over the course of the year, prompting the government to put some money into the development of basic infrastructure of the town. The size of the airport being constructed in accordance to the town of Kafra baffled the sub-contractors, who all advised that building an airport that could accommodate 3 million passengers annually was a horrible investment considering the tiny population of the town it was accommodating. The Royal President insisted, however, that the construction continue, stating that the area would outgrow the airport a lot sooner than anyone thought.

The next logical step after developing the airport was to get planes flying into it, something which would again be up to the Desera Council. Earlier in the year, the Ministry of Transportation (which was the first ministry formed under the new council) founded the Desera Aviation Authority (DAA) to handle, maintain, and develop the Kafra International Airport and anything aviation related in the country. That theoretically also put them in charge of a national airline, if such a company was to be established. The Royal President had planned all along to introduce a plan to establish such an airline, patiently waiting for the completion of the airport to begin work on it. Now had the DAA to do the work for him, and an end of year meeting with the DAA was mostly about doing just that. The Royal President gave them a deadline of one year for the national airline to be operational, and was willing to finance the airline with up to E75 million to acquire planes and cover start-up costs.

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The town of Kafra had three main landmarks at the end of Year Two- the Kafra Seaport, the Bahr Mosque, and the Desera Council Building, otherwise known as the Independence Hall. With the rapid growth of the town’s population, the council invest around E2 million into basic infrastructure and the paving of the new Masjid Street, which was built to accommodate the new buildings that were coming up. Anyone with a little bit of money was buying a plot of land in Kafra and quickly building it into a house or story building, turning the area immediately north of the seaport into the heart of the capital city. The architecture was mixed, with American, Mediterranean, and Arabic influences all evident in the new construction.

Other than developing a national airline, the Desera Council also made plans to construct a building to house the Bank of Desera, which would be the nation’s first operational bank. The bank would be 100% owned by the government, and to handle and operate the bank, the Desera Council created its second ministry, the Ministry of Finance. An initial capital of E20 million was to be put to start the bank off, with an additional E2 million to cover the cost of the building. A small marketing campaign was undertaken by the council advertising the benefits of banking to the local population.

The Royal President, however, was most insistent about two other projects: a small hospital and a school to serve up to the 12th Grade. Both projects were in the blueprints, but were not as of yet finalized. The announcement for both of them was made in the new government-owned newspaper, the Kafra Times, and was met with much excitement from the locals. It was estimated that a large number of nomadic families would come to Kafra to settle simply for the healthcare alone, and as such, the council had to plan accordingly. It was still unclear how the healthcare and educational systems were going to work, but the Royal President wanted it to be fair to the people. Some in the council favored for them to be free, others felt they needed the income from them.

Kafra had exactly 1,231 residents at the end of Year Two, up from 770 just one year before that. The GDP per capita of the country had improved slightly to $2,071. The Desera Council spent more than it made this year, but the surplus from Year One made sure that there was still approximately E250 million in the coffers after all the projects had been accounted for. The total population of Desera was now 5,060,394.

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Kafra, looking south.

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Central Kafra, looking north.

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Kafra, looking north.

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Central Kafra, looking west.

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Aerial of Kafra, looking west.

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Aerial of Kafra, looking north.

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Kafra International Airport (KIA)

The Kafra International Airport was the first major project undertaken by the Deseran government after its formation. Overseen by the Ministry of Transport (MoT), the airport was completed towards the end of Year Two. It was built to the northeast of the settlement, and capital city, of Kafra – in order to get there, one had to take Mallam Road north up to the Mallam Roundabout, and from there head east on Airport Drive. Its location was chosen with future planning in mind, as the Desera Council did not want to urban expansion to encroach on the airport, while also giving it ample space for upgrading should it be required in the future.

Planning for the KIA project began in Year One, and it cost the Deseran government approximately E200 million upon completion. After the declaration of the completed project, the MoT created its first branch, the Desera Aviation Authority (DAA), which assumed full responsibility of the airport in terms of management and future planning and development. The DAA was also given the go ahead to begin putting forward a plan for a national airline at the end of Year Two in celebration of the airport’s completion.

The airport was designed to handle around 3 million passengers annually at maximum capacity – at the time of its completion, the largest town in Desera, the capital city of Kafra, had only 1,200 people, so it was obviously built for long term projections. Five on-ramp gates were constructed, and the runway measured 3,443 meters in length. At the end of Year Two, only charter and private planes served the airport. The Deseran Armed Forces were also given offices in the airport, as KIA was to be their main base for the Desera Air Force.

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Year One

It had been one full year since Desera’s official declaration of Independence on January 1st, and what an eventful year it had been. The 45 year old Royal President Sidebe Mallam culminated the country’s first year as an independent nation by throwing a grand celebration at the newly built Desera Council Building, otherwise known as Independence Hall, inviting all the tribal leaders from around the country to attend. It was a fitting end to an equally grand, if slightly chaotic, first year.

The hardest part was getting the new paper currency, officially called the Emle (singular and plural), into the hands of the people. The Emli was pegged to the US Dollar, and $1 equaled E1. The Desera Council had an overwhelming tough time opening up tiny branches of communication throughout the land, and around those small, glorified tents, families began to settle. All over Desera, settlements of 10 or 20 people popped up, as the nomadic tribes began situating themselves close to where they could get money. They would sell whatever they came up with, whether it was fish, livestock, crop, or even handcrafted items in return for the new currency. The Desera Council had purposely set up the program in order to introduce the currency into the lives of its citizens. Those same communication branches collected taxes from the people, which quickly became a major source of revenue for the Desera Council.

The largest of all settlements was the capital city of Kafra, which swelled in a single year to 770 residents. Along Mallam Road, the only paved road in the entire nation, a small trading market made up of a few buildings quickly developed just north of the Kafra Seaport. The export of Desera’s main asset, oil, was still very primitive, with small barges coming in daily to transport the oil back to Europe. The oil was being shipped by land from the oil fields to the north of Kafra down to the seaport, where the barges and their crews would be waiting. Kafra’s trade activity initially revolved around these foreigners, but by the end of the year, the local market also played an important part.

Whether meat, fish, crops, or handcrafted items, people saw that they could sell their product to a much bigger customer base if they could sell it in Kafra, which led to the quick expansion of its center. By the year’s end, the daytime population of the capital city was thought to be around 10,000 people, although less than 10% of that actually lived in the town. At night, most of the visitors to Kafra would head back over to the rest of their tribe, but one thing was for certain – the lives of everyone in this new nation had changed forever.

The Desera Council had come up with welfare program meant to enrich the lives of its citizens, using over 50% of the taxes it collected to give back in some way or form to the people. It was set up in a special way, as each tribe was given a certain amount depending on its size. The tribal leaders would send their allocated amount to their people every month, in hopes of enriching their lives. It was the Deseran way of spending government money locally. Whether it was food, or help setting up a permanent home, the Council was willing and, for the most part, able to provide the help needed. It still needed a lot more help in terms of supporting itself, however, as it was difficult to find employees who were bright enough or able to take on the responsibilities they were asking for. In terms of spending, while the welfare program ate up a huge part of it, there was a lot of it going into maintaining the Kafra power plant and the water and sewage facility in the area. An additional E10 million was put towards a military budget, as well, and by the end of the year, the Deseran Armed Forces featured 500 soldiers assigned with the task of protecting the country and its leaders. Many tribes volunteered young men from its ranks, proudly showcasing some of the finest boys they had and sending them off to serve their new nation. At the end of the year, the Council found itself with approximately E300 million in access funds, a figure which completely blew the tribal leaders away. The Royal President had promised them wealth, and they had received it.

With so much access funds, the Desera Council put several projects up for debate in hopes of finding a suitable one that would benefit the country’s infrastructure the most. Some mentioned drawing up a city plan for Kafra with paved roads, others mentioned upgrading the Kafra Seaport, amongst other things. Almost all agreed with Royal President Mallam, however, when he stated that an airport would be the most beneficial thing for the country as a whole. It was agreed that a small airport to the northeast of Kafra would be developed, and initial targets placed the estimated cost at E200 million. They would have to find a foreign company to do the job for them, but it would be well worth it.

That would wrap up an eventful Year One for Desera, one that started out with a bang, and ended with an even bigger one. The Royal family would take up residence in the Independence Hall temporarily, but there were talks of constructing a Presidential Residence in Kafra in the near future. Under the watchful eye of the Royal President and his council, Desera entered its second year as an independent nation full of hope!

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The Desera Council Building, otherwise known as the Independence Hall.

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Close-up of Kafra’s center.

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Kafra’s center, looking east.

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Kafra’s center, looking west.

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An aerial shot of Kafra, looking west.

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An aerial shot of Kafra, looking north.

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An aerial shot of Kafra, looking south.

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GENERAL INFORMATION

A forgotten land, once called a desolate waste by 16th and 17th century explorers on their way to the Americas, Desera (rumored to have come from the Twi words for calm and desert) has been the home to nomadic tribes for thousands of years. No documented history has ever been recorded from the island situated in the middle of the atlantic, although the oral history – told through generations by tribal storytellers – is as rich as any. Even in this day and age, Desera has been ignored by the world until now, thanks to the discovery of that black gold: oil.

Historically, there has never been a recorded settlement on Desera until now (Kafra being the only), but current estimates have put its total population at around five million, split up into as many as three hundred different tribes. Of those three hundred, there are around twenty larger tribes who dominate the landscape. The largest is the Kasoa tribe, but the most powerful is the Mallam tribe, the tribe of the current leader of Desera, the Royal President Sidebe Mallam. Underneath him is the recently formed Desera Council, made up of tribal leaders from across the land and who act as advisors and planners for the Royal Presidency. The Desera Council sits above all other ministries, which report directly to it and take its orders directly from it.

The capital city of the newly formed nation of Desera is called Kafra, and is situated on the southern shores of the island. Kafra has only been recently formed, thanks to the construction of the small seaport and Desera’s only power plant. Currently, Kafra’s residents are made up of workers of the seaport and powerplant, as well as all official Desera Council representatives. It is the first time in the known history of Desera that there has been a permanent settlement, although stories do speak of forts and such throughout the years.

BRIEF HISTORY

As stated above, very little is known about the history of Desera, and other than the stories of the tribal storytellers, there is no way of knowing anything about it. There have been no recorded documents either on or off the island, and until very recently, it was not even considered a country. The son of current Royal President Mallam, the Prince Diallo Mallam, on a fishing expedition off the southern coast of Desera a few years, ran into a sailing ship, which anchored off the islands and stayed as guests of the Mallam tribe for three nights. During that time, Prince Diallo learned much of the outside world, and persuaded his father to allow him to travel with the ship, with the promise of returning in two years.

Prince Diallo Mallam returned in two years on a much larger ship, and with a team of oil explorers that had pinpointed vast reserves underneath the Deseran soils. During his time in Europe, the prince had found out about oil when he was casually explaining to the sailors of the black liquid that could be found all over the island. He was swiftly taken to a company called Brand Oil, who wasted no time in committing to a journey to Desera.

One year after the return of Prince Diallo Mallam, Desera was officially formed into a nation after a meeting by all the tribal leaders, naming the leader of the Mallam tribe, Sidebe Mallam, as the Royal President. He had won the other tribes over with the promise of vast riches beyond their wildest imagination, something that he was sure he could give after the worth of oil was explained to him. With help from Brand Oil, a small settlement called Kafra was built on the southern coast, in what was known as Mallam nomadic territory, with a small seaport and powerplant to help support the settlement. The preliminary oil fields that were set up were minor in size, exporting only 5,000 barrels a day, and were found a few hundred miles north of Kafra. A single road was built to reach the small oil fields from the seaport, cutting through Kafra, which was located just to the north of the seaport. With the government in place and the official recognition of Desera as a country, we begin the story of this once desolate land as it grows its way into the world.

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The settlement of Kafra.

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The Kafra Powerplant to the north of the settlement. The powerplant runs on coal.

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Kafra and the Kafra Seaport - looking south.

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The Kafra Seaport - looking north.

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An aerial shot of Kafra.