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    Posted January 29, 2013 by
    TerryAlly
    Location
    Mali

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    Timbuktu on my mind

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Mariam is a young girl from Timbuktu currently living in Segou, southern Mali, after fleeing Islamist miiltants who had taken over the fabled city. Currently being supported in part by the charity Plan International she was elated to finally speak to her father, who had remained in the city as French troops arrived there to battle the militants. Power and phone lines to Timbuktu had been cut, leaving communication impossible and thousands of its displaced residents fearful for their families. Now, Mariam is pleased that the rebels have gone and that her father is safe. "I am looking forward to going back to the life I had before this all started," she said. "We were a normal family. I enjoyed breakfast with my dad every morning before he set out for work." Read the latest updates on Mali.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    By Mariam*
    An internally displaced teenage girl from Timbuktu now living with relatives in Ségou Region

    I am over the moon today because Timbuktu, my home town, the only town I knew before the trouble started is now free. I will be able to speak to daddy again. I can hardly believe it. What a difference a day makes.

    Yesterday, I was down, just one of these days. I woke up early to get ready for school and as usual I took my mom’s phone to call my dad in Timbuktu.

    I dialed his number hoping to speak to him but the only voice I heard was the recorded message from the phone company saying that the person I am trying to reach is out of the coverage area.

    I have been hearing this message every morning for the past three weeks. The phone lines are down in Timbuktu and I haven’t been able to speak to my dad for that long.

    After the failed call, I found myself daydreaming, trying to remember our last conversation, back in December, when dad promised that everything will be okay and that the new year will be better than 2012.

    I also tried to remember what he was wearing the day I left Timbuktu with my mum, my two brothers and my younger sister.

    Thinking about these things made me realise how much I missed him and how worried I am about him. I miss my dad so much. He is such a cool person.

    But I don’t want to think about this anymore. It is all over now according to what I heard on the news this morning. French soldiers have arrived in my home town and liberated it! I am sooo pleased!

    I would like to go back to Timbuktu as soon as possible, to see my friends, my grand-parents, and my house.

    I am looking forward to going back to the life I had before this all started. We were a normal family. I enjoyed breakfast with my dad every morning before he set out for work.

    I look forward to going back to school, which was within walking distance of my house. Here in Ségou I have to take a donkey cart – and that’s only on days when my mom can afford to pay the transportation fees.

    I am desperate to go back to my life in Timbuktu, to put behind me all that happened after our towns and homes were seized and Sharia law was imposed on us. In a matter of hours we went from being a normal family to becoming prisoners in our own home. We could barely go out for fear of being arrested or attacked.

    It is all over now. I am so happy!

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