One Day in Timbuktu

What do you at sunrise in Timbuktu? You could pray to Allah in the direction of Mecca. You could play football with the locals. Or you could go for a run in the Sahara. I chose the latter. Around Timbuktu I ran, checking out the quality mud houses, stick houses, even animal skin homes that populate Timbuktu’s suburbs. There isn’t much to them, or the sand roads between them, and once they end, and they do end soon, its all Sahara.

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The Road to Tombouctou

Back when I was a kid, I read about Timbuktu. I don’t recall exactly where, but I do remember having the impression that is was a grand place with lush green surroundings and majestic buildings.

Maybe, once long ago, that was Timbuktu. Now it’s not so lush or so grand. It can be very interesting for a bit, as the Sahara Desert meets the Niger River and the peoples from these two regions coexists.

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Wipers – Know Them, Use Them

We are on the road to Timbuktu, the long, dusty, dirty road to Timbuktu. We’ve crossed deserts, we’ve crossed rivers, and we’ve crossed the country, but not once in that entire two day and one thousand kilometer trip have we once used the windshield wipers.

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Always Eat on the Street

The best cooking is always streetside Open air cooking Three bowls happy A swank stop Oh am I hungry. Its been hours, seemingly days, since a good meal and I need one now. Not content to wait the usual two hours for ‘fast food’, there is only one option for…

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Dust, Dust, Dust, Dust, Dust

Dust. Rust red dust. From microscopic airborne particles that collect on every flat surface or in your lungs to big sand granules that amass in every un-swept corner of Mali, dust is everywhere here. It’s in my laptop keyboard, on my clothes, and behind my teeth.

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Drinking Beer by Braille

Its happy hour in Bamako, Mali, and I’m at the Blue Box Bar with the Geekcorps. Now we call it the Blue Box not because there is any official name, no we call it the Blue Box because that is what it is; a big metal box painted blue. And as a metal box in Africa its baking hot on the inside during the day and still warm even at night. So we sit outside, in the soccer field, sipping our beers

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Business Sense in Bamako

Lets say you are a concrete building block maker in Bamako. You have your block form and a shovel. You walk to the construction site and make each block by hand. You mix the cement with the shovel on the ground, scoop it into the form, and then when it starts to fix and harden, you open the form and let it cure in he sun. This whole process doesn’t take more than 10 minutes and you make about 5 cents a block.

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