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Photographer's Note

I admit that the title of this photo may not be entirely true. For those of you who happen to live in Timbuktu this town is just a few hours away. But for the rest of us Diré in northern Mali is pretty remote.

I arrived in Diré in February 1982 by jeep from Timbuktu on a very bumpy road, sometimes going "off-pist" through unpaved wilderness when the driver wanted to avoid the frequent police road blocks. I had gone to Timbuktu just to soak in the atmosphere of that legendary city at the edge of the Sahara. Now I wanted to see Diré where the world's largest solar power plant had recently been built with the assistance of the United Nations.

Unfortunately the power plant on the outskirts of the town had already been closed and abandoned when I got there. The large panels were all covered with desert dust, some of them broken. I didn't find anyone who could explain how that ambitious project could have failed so miserably, so quickly.

And so the interesting story I had planned would make me some money also failed miserably.

Instead I spent a couple of days strolling along the few streets of Diré, watching the activities in the small port, having simple meals of bread and omelettes in the only café. I also took a handful of photos.

An alternative view from this quiet market street can be seen in the workshop. The map co-ordinates 16.26436 -3.39213 will show you approximately where I took these photos.

This is only the second upload on TE from Diré. The first one also happened to be mine.

In 1982 Diré and the surrounding area was very quiet and safe. Today I wouldn't advise anyone to go there. If you don't run into an Islamist militia you could have trouble with a separatist militia. Don't count on the UN peace troops to save you.

Here is a larger version of the main photo. Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7724 W: 431 N: 15226] (70104)
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