For the last 3 years, I have been trying to help my friends, the NGO, Groupe Coordination Aude Mali, who are working with Malian Touareg tribal people and their village in the Sahara near Timbuctu. They were displaced and living in refugee camps in Burkina Faso and Mauritania while AQMI...the Malian version of Al Qaeda tried to seize power. I installed a Paypal donation button on the side panel of this blog to help raise awareness and money to assist in the basic survival needs of this displaced community. They have one of the most ancient continuous cultures on the planet. With the intervention of the French, slowly, stability is being restored and these people are beginning to feel able to return to their abandoned villages. GCAM, is a small NGO and virtually every cent donated is spent on the projects that are based on the needs and desires of the Tuareg villagers they have been working with for over 30 years. The members of the NGO have put their lives on the line and suffered the same hardships as the villagers in helping them escape the dangers of AQMI and in their return. The village is being rebuilt, the latest update of the information on the sidebar is that the schools are being reopened and rebuilt. Soon, I will have some great pictures to share of the progress of the resettlement of the ancient villages. We still need donations. Every little bit goes a long, long way. This is a great video of Malian Touareg musicians who have been helping to resettle and restore the villages. Some of the most powerful and beautiful music from Africa comes from this tradition which the AQMI tried to ban and wipe out. Hopefully, when I return from my work at the vendange in Lalande de Pomerol in a few weeks, we will have more interesting stuff to show you. Meanwhile, watch this video and if you feel moved, donate a few bucks to GCAM!
Here's a link to a great suite of recent photos of life in Timbuctu published yesterday in the Guardian Observer.