Love Letter To Mali Part VII: A Broken Heart

I started writing my love letter to Mali back in September.  My heart was already breaking for all the people I met, and those I hadn’t met.  I was already anxious for the wellbeing of the rich cultural sites and Islamic texts.

In the interim, things have gone from bad to worse.  As I wrote each subsequent chapter of my love letter, things continued to deteriorate.

NYTimes Photo of Mali troops

NYTimes Photo of Mali troops

I have heard from someone I met while I was there.  He asked for money.  He has had to move his whole family from Timbuktu to Mopti.  Thank God they are all safe, but he has no way to get money to feed them.

I am paralyzed by a sense of impotence.  Sure, I can wire him some money.  But, as soon as my focus broadens just a smidge, I am paralyzed again.  How can sending a few dollars to one person help the situation at all?

And, to be completely honest, there is a part of me that worries about how my money would be spent.  I only spent a few hours with this person.  What if they are somehow on the wrong side of things?  Or, in such dire straights that they are forced to support the wrong side?

As I struggle with my own tiny dilemma, the world is struggling with the bigger picture.  How do we save the Malians?  How do we save the historical sites?  How do we prevent the militants who have taken over from using Mali (and Algeria and Libya) as a home base to spread terror across the region, and the world?

It is a frightening time, and a perilous situation.


As I sit back, paralyzed, impotent, ashamed, and watch it unfold, I continue to send my love to Mali and its people.

2 thoughts on “Love Letter To Mali Part VII: A Broken Heart

  1. Sometimes we need to realize that while we cannot save the world everyone at one time, we can save the world one person at a time. This past Christmas, I managed to talk several friends into “giving” me half a goat and a chicken….I “gave” them the same… 2 entire goat and 4 chickens were given to several families in Africa (World Vision)….we know that the situation is horrible but we like to think that we helped someone there!
    Cyndi: Are you still working or just traveling? I love seeing the places you go to! My kind of traveler.

  2. Thanks for reading our piece, and for your comment, Trina! It’s so true. It’s small things you do to help out those who are less fortunate. Through Cynthias’ travels, we post to share experience and knowledge of places less traveled to, and through this, remind people that not everyone lives the way we do. Cynthia’s always traveling, and is currently writing her books and novels. Some are complete and ready to be published. So that’s where we’re at!

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