dintorni

dintorni

I fail to understand why there are so many organizations from all over the world that have a branch in Timbuktu for helping the poor and needy. Nevertheless, this small city which seems to be one of the most assisted in the world is of an extreme poverty. At least it certainly appears that way, seeing the state of things and talking with people about their situation.

It has not always been so. Thirty five years ago a tempest of sand and drought of biblical proportion changed the face of the region and the life of its inhabitants.
It started with a wind of red sand.  It blew so strongly that it uprooted trees and lifted cars. One could not see two meters ahead. It blew for one week and stopped for 2 days. It started to blow for another week, then stopped for 2 days.  Everyone thought that at last it had stopped for good.  It repeated its devastation for a third week. The people feared the day of judgment had arrived.
All the animals died and in the desert, many people also died of thirst and hunger.
When at last it stopped, the rumble of thunder was heard.  All the people became convinced that the hour of judgment had come.  Rain and hail poured down to such an extent that streets were flooded and many houses fell. 

It had been a true scourge, people were reduced to eating the skin of dead animals to survive.
Before the catastrophe, the river had been reaching inside the city by a great canal. Vegetables and fruits were cultivated in quantity and variety.  Fishing was abundant and the domestic animals were eating green grass every day of the year.

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Timbuktu before the catastrophe

Since then Timbuktu is no more the city of flowery gardens, it is a city of the desert swept by wind and dust, where finding the money and food to live is the daily pre-occupation.

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