USA April 2005

My Dear Shindouk,

I have tried to express my feelings for you several times but because of my French it was always difficult. So i hope with a sheet of paper and much reflection I can begin to better explain.

I travel a lot for a girl of my age and I encounter many people. Since i travel alone I am always prudent about my environment. I remember the first time we met on the dunes. It is not necessary to say that it was different from the start. I was at ease from the first moment and since this time I have nothing but more and more respect and admiration for you, I feel at home; I feel like I can tell you anything and you will never judge me. It has been a long time since I have felt that.

The world has changed now and the changes are also very clear among the Tuaregs. You are in a very important position; you are the liaison between Geneva and Timbuktu; and you profit from it to help both sides, its clear. Now that I have seen the camps with my own eyes. My God! How warm and generous and good those people are. At the same time they need lots of people like you, someone who understands the changes that are happening in Mali. You and I, we agree that the adaptations need to come from the Africans themselves, and I can't explain to you how pleased I am that you are here for them, my new friends. But I don't need to explain all that because i think you understand very well what I am trying to say...

When a person travels, they always take away memories of the places they visited, but it is not only memories of buildings and nature and food and music. It is more the people that one encounters during the trip, I want to say that Shindouk you are Timbuktu for me. You are the desert...

Alas! I tried hard, but i did not completely succeed in expressing my feelings. I don't think it is because of my French after all. Even in English it is impossible for me to tell you how you are in my head and my heart. "Thank you" is not sufficient but I can say that I love you like my brother. I will never forget you and I will never forget the time that i spent here.

very sincerely