12/Nov/2011 11:05 Filed in: Life in
This image of the
total solar eclipse of March 29 2006 was taken in
Timbuktu at considerable distance from where the full
effect was visible it still caused a interesting
phenomenon in the morning sky.
Timbuktu is situated
between 16° 44’555” and 16° 47’ degrees North latitude
and 2° 59’710” and 3° 00’ 977” degrees west longitude.
This puts it in the same time zone as England. It is in
the northern hemisphere so it follows the general
pattern of shorter cooler days in the months of Dec Jan
Feb and longer hotter days in the “summer” months of
June July Aug. However being only 16 degrees off the
equator the seasonal variation in day length and
temperature is minimal. Read More...
18/Oct/2011 06:53 Filed in: Life in
the middle of nowhere, the Sahara desert, Africa, an
underdeveloped country one might have an image of
people completely shut off from the rest of the world
with no access to any modern aenities. Or being so used
to all the comforts of the western world it maybe
impossible to imagine a place that does not have them.
So what utilities are available in Timbuktu and how do
they work? Read More...
04/Oct/2011 17:02 Filed in: Life in
Misery is not
synonymous with poverty. In impoverished countries,
like Mali, apearances can be deceiving. While you may
see many people going around in fine clothes and
looking happy and well fed the reality may be a whole
different story. In this photo you can see two young
children that go out every afternoon selling small
quantities of petrol for small sums of money to people
whose only light at night is a kerosine lantern. One of
the many ways families make ends meet in
Timbuktu. Read More...
10/Jul/2011 14:30 Filed in: Life in
It is the
responsibility of the bride's relatives to see she has
as wedding gifts all the necessary equipment to run a
home. Oh the groom will probably furnish the house with
things like mattresses a bed, a wardrobe a
television/entertainment center any of the big fancy
stuff that he wants and can afford but the, rugs and
blankets and sheets and kitchen utensils will come with
the bride. They will also go with the bride if she gets
divorced, which is a good thing since this is a one
time deal. Any future marriages by the woman will be
modest affairs attended only by the couple the imam and
two witness and gifts are limited to the dowry and any
other thing her husband wishes to bestow on her.
10/Jul/2011 09:05 Filed in: Life in
articles and reports have been done on the condition of
women in Africa or in Islam or in Muslim Africa and so
on. I have often been asked my opinion either on the
veracity of said articles or on the condition of women
in such circumstances. My response is that it is much
more complex than can easily be summed up in a 500 word
article. It is also my feeling that such articles
written by outsiders are often biased.
I will not
deny that there is inequality of the sexes in Mali and
I will discuss them. But other factors play a role. We
must look not only at how our perceptions cause us to
misjudge cultural differences but also that some issues
that women face are not so much intentional
discrimination rather they are the result of a very
poor country with too few resources to meet the needs
of its population. The final aspect of this question is
that we in the west must first examine our own women's
equality before seeking to accuse others. Let not those
living in glass houses throw stones.
12/May/2011 11:25 Filed in: Life in
from a mispronunciation of the
arabic word zawia
meaning a place (house or
whole neighbourhood) of repose where travelers,
students, and others could stay and find meals and
the Songai word for proprietor, thus the
sheik or chief responsible for such a place who
financed it and often offered charity to, or took care
of debts of, the impoverished who made use of it.
12/May/2011 09:40 Filed in: Life in
One of the events surrounding a traditional
marriage in Timbuktu is a party thrown by the
girlfriends and age-mates of the new bride. This party
is a last bash with all her friends but it is also a
show of strength and solidarity for her new in-laws to
see that she has lots of people who care about her.
Every body dresses up and there is lots of loud music
and dancing, some flirting with the boys of the age-set
and while the bride must act with dignity- she probably
won’t be dancing herself she is permitted to smile, in
stark contrast to the wedding itself where she looks
miserable or is hidden most of the time. Read More...
26/Apr/2011 16:39 Filed in: Life in
in Africa are complex, nuanced affairs. They are also
rarely without challenges. Never have I attended one
that didn’t have a share of the participants grumbling
over some gap in the organization or imagined slight on
the part of someone involved. It is an event full of
details and frustrations for the organizers and also
one of great importance to the life of the bride who
will only ever have the one wedding of such pomp. This
is where she is fussed over and celebrated and where
should receive as gifts all the materials needed to
start a household, from dishes and utensils, to quilts
and carpets to clothing and cosmetics. Here is an
insiders account of one wedding, as all wedding not
without its tribulations but ultimately coming to a
satisfactory conclusion. Read
12/Mar/2011 11:43 Filed in: Life in
The roads in Mali
can be difficult, bumps, breakdowns, cattle crossing
and more. Here is a recent trip I took to Bamako and
the tribulations on the way. Read More...
06/Feb/2011 12:59 Filed in: Life in
Slavery is a delicate subject but as it is such
an integral part of Timbuktu’s history it should be
touched upon. Read More...
06/Feb/2011 10:29 Filed in: Life in
Younger Children have many little games that are
similar to those played by western children. They play
pretend house, school and market place, fly kites, skip
rope, engage in variations on such games as marbles,
patty cake, tag and hide and seek, and have a varriety
of rhymes to figure out who is "it". Board and card
games are played by older children and adults. In fact
it is not uncommon to see a group of old men bickering
over a party of "bullut" or talking smack as they take
each other's peices in a desert version of checkers.
Here are a few of the games played in Timbuktu.
21/Jan/2011 11:09 Filed in: Life in
Unused to roughing it? Here are some tips on
using toilets, bucket baths, doing laundry and other
practicalities of life in West Africa Read
17/Sep/2009 11:49 Filed in: Life in
Demands for gifts can be annoying but you are not the
only one dealing with this. Gift giving is an integral
part of the culuture and can become quite complicated.
19/Oct/2008 09:33 Filed in: Life in
I have had a lot of questions about houses and
how people live here in Timbuktu here are answers to a
few questions about houses and their furnishings.
06/Jun/2008 12:40 Filed in: feedback
This site is dedicated to offering extensive quality
information about Timbuktu. You feedback is welcome.
Lets us know if there are blatant errors, including
typos and web-related flaws. We will do our best to
Are there questions that are not answered in the
information provided? Let us know; we will try to add
information to answer them.
Please be patient this site is a work in progress. We
are learning about website-building as we go. There is
a lot of information and it will take time to compile
it all. And the internet conection in Timbuktu is slow.
Thank You for your feedback and your patience.
06/Jun/2008 12:31 Filed in: food
Here are your restaurant recommendations and reactions
in Timbuktu. Read
06/Jun/2008 12:27 Filed in: Lodgings
Here's what you think of hotels in timbuktu.
16/Sep/2007 08:55 Filed in: Life in
Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims. The
fast, similar to the fasts in many religions, is about
putting aside worldly concerns to better concentrate on
the spiritual. To be closer to God. And also to become
more aware and thankful of what one has. And more aware
and considerate of those who have not and what it means
not to have.
10/Feb/2007 07:40 Filed in: Life in
Someone said "Everyday must be an adventure here in
Timbuktu." Well in some ways yes, but it becomes
everyday. Dodging dust storms is just so exciting when
they happen on a regular basis. Read More...
08/Jun/2006 10:25 Filed in: Life in
The children of Timbuktu put a whole new spin on
childhood games. The people of Timbuktu have a
different perspective on health. Read More...
13/Jul/2005 10:24 Filed in: Life in
I looked up from what I was working on, having
noticed that it seemed dimmer that it had been.
Glancing out the window I saw the sky had gone sort of
yellow. A sure sign a dust storm was approaching. I got
up to have a better view and thus determine if it was
to be a real tempet de sable
or simply a
strong wind stirring up the dust into the lower
atmosphere. What I saw was a massive swirling swarming
turbulent bank of yellow brown all across the eastern
horizon and curling round the north and south as well.