Timbuktu, Mali
January 2007

Video by Judith Porter

For some people when you say 'Timbuktu' it is like the end of the world, but that is not true.  I am from Timbuktu, and I can tell you we are right at the heart of the world.
Ali Farka Toure
I found it neither as big nor as populated as I had expected.  Everything was enveloped in a great sadness.  I was amazed by the lack of energy, by the inertia that hung over the town ... a jumble of badly built houses..ruled over by a heavy silence.
Rene Caille 1828
 Today, Timbuktu is much closer to the 1828 description than to Ali Farka Toure's.  We visited the town, the wonderful libraries that are engaged in saving important texts that were hidden for long years, and a Tuareg camp about 30 minutes north of town.