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Photographer's Note

I remain in the distant past, this time in 1982.

This is from a town called Goundam in northern Mali, several hours' journey southwest of the more famous city of Timbuktu. I travelled to Goundam only to catch a flight to Mopti, much further south, and spent a day and a night there. I have rarely felt more lost and bewildered anywhere, mainly because there was no place to have a meal, and by the time of the day I arrived there wasn't even a piece of bread left. The water provided at the hostel for drinking and washing was taken straight from the river and had to be boiled very long to be safe.

I have very vague memories of Goundam and I don't remember anything from taking this photo. Obviously the women are on their way to find water a long way from home.

What I do remember very clearly was how I managed to leave Goundam. I had an open ticket for the flight and went to the Air Mali office to book a seat for the next day. I was told that if I arrived at the office at 9 AM I could get a free ride to the airstrip. When I asked if they shouldn't get in touch with Bamako to check if there was a seat available, I was assured there was no need for that. I was guaranteed a seat.

So the next day I got the free ride to the airstrip, where we eventually were about a dozen men waiting with our luggage. Finally the plane landed, the French pilot stepped out and walked up to our little group. He looked at us through his dark glasses, then said: "I have three empty seats. You, you and you. Bring your luggage and come with me. The rest of you can go home". He pointed at two local VIP-looking men and one white man. Me.

That was how I was saved from staying another week without food or water in Goundam.

This is only the second photo on TE from Goundam. By coincidence the first one was also one of mine.

Here is a larger version of today's upload. It was, as usual, scanned from a Kodachrome slide.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9534 W: 511 N: 18548] (82252)
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