Timbuktu - the very name conjures a far-flung and mysterious place. A city smack in the middle of the Sahara desert of Mali, Africa, and I was excited to find that it is one of Tempe's 7 sister cities. Timbuktu has been our sister since 1991 when both city councils approved the affiliation. Timbuktu has 30,000 residents and was founded around 1100 AD as a camp for its proximity to the Niger River. Today, Timbuktu is threatened by encroaching desert sands of the Sahara - desertification - which is destroying vegetation, many historical structures, and the water supply. It was named to the UNESCO world heritage list because of these threats. Because of the threats to the precious water supply, Tempe has committed to providing 7 wells for the city; 4 have been completed.
Special thanks to Galen Frysinger for the use of this image from his adventure travels (www.galenfrysinger.com/index.htm)