Bamako to Timbuctu

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I got the wonderful opportunity to work as a volunteer for the Festival au Desert through coincidences – and that was for sure one of the things I was really looking forward to in mali.

Off to Timbuctu – the plan was to leave early morning. They had rented a bus for some of the volunteers to go by road from Bamako to timbuctu – a 705 kilometers trip up to the start of Sahara. We were told to be at the meeting point 7:30. An hour later some of the administration people showed up, after another hour the bus showed up. When all the luggage finally where on the roof of the bus they remembered that we need rope to fasten it! After another hour we slowly started to work our way out of town – and the next day around five in the afternoon we finally reached Timbuctu. It was a long bus-ride, but a good chance to see a lot of Mali and get to know the other volunteers.

None of us had any idea what we were going to do, I only knew that I would work with the press. Three days before the festival started we visited the site – and the only thing which were there was sand. And a few tents. We hanged around for a few days mostly waiting to see what was supposed to happen and walking around in Timbuctu. One day before the festival we visited the site again – and there was still not much more than sand. The first day of the festival we arrived around eleven, and the stage for still not built, and the technician and sound system had not arrived. In some miraculous way everything was in place before it turned totally dark – and the festival was on! Intereting experience – how a big happening like this is arranged in the desert. A lot of waiting and somehow chaotic – but after all: the festival was on!

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