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mia farrow

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March 12, 2010

Famine and Mao

camels were waiting to bring me to the house of the Governor of Mao, where I stayed

me and my camel

little girls in Mao

in the center of Mao people set up protection for newly planted trees

women crossing Mao on donkeys

From eastern Chad I traveled with Unicef to Mao in the remote Kanem region of western Chad. It is the most desolate, uncommon and starkly beautiful place I have ever seen. A sand swept town where people ride camels. There are no roads. No internet, this is the reason my blogs are delayed.

Over the centuries nothing has changed in Mao -until now. The rainfall this year was just a third of what it had been in previous years and the sands of the Sahel move relentlessly over the region. People try to remain optimistic- they plant tiny trees and carefully construct little teepees to protect them from the sand. But the Sahel is winning the battle. Nothing much will grow now. Babies and camels are dying. People have begun to use the word, famine.

We arrived on day five of an intense dust storm. We were told that such storms usually last 4-5 days and that proved to be accurate
Camels were waiting to bring Unicef Country Director Dr Marzio Babille and me to the governors dwelling where we were given rooms. There are no other lodgings for travelers in Mao.
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