This was my first week back in the UK after a two week holiday in Mali. A first visit to West Africa which I decided to approach `blind´ without reading any guidebooks or listening to any Malian music, even though the [Festivale au Desert]( “”) was ostensibly the reason for the trip. It proved to be a fascinating and beautiful country and the music, when we eventually got to hear it, was mesmerising and uplifting and Tinariwen are seldom off the stereo these days.
Our local guide for the duration of the trip was M. Ali Dicko – possibly the smiliest man I have ever met. He led us in a cheery and unflappable manner across lakes and through deserts, never failing to get us out of whatever minor set-back befell us. Talking to Ali, who is university educated and well travelled, it was clear that he was very proud of his country and very hopeful for its future. Sitting on the roof of our pinasse, he asked what I did for a living and we got to discussing climate change. I realised that he had no idea it was something that would affect Africa. He´d heard the term but assumed it was something that was going on in Europe. His look of concern when we talked about what it might mean for Mali in the next 50 or so years – which to him was a very short time – was sobering.
Countries like Mali are not well represented in UN discussions about climate change – they have more immediate concerns. And their population, which is busily going about its business in about as low an impact way as you can imagine, is blissfully unaware that we may have just stolen their future.
This made me sad and all the more convinced that we in the west have to seriously up our game – those of us who know what is going on have to act on behalf of those who don´t.
So, on with the job of getting this site up and running. Had an inspiring meeting with Lukas, our designer, over brunch today. Whenever I talk to someone else about the idea it makes it seem much more real and more likely that it will happen. There´s so much that still needs to be sorted out, business plan, bank account, legal documents – the list just seems to keep getting longer but the decision today to begin loading up content as we go and to start this blog now to document the process, has made me feel a lot better.