This fall KMXT spoke with local
resident Heather Preece and her friend, Mahim Toure, who was
visiting from Mali, West Africa. Toure met Preece more than 20 years ago when
they worked together on a nutrition surveillance program in the northern region
The two reunited in October when Toure came to visit Preece and her family in
Kodiak. For the better part of a month Toure took English language classes at Kodiak College,
gave presentations on Mali
to schools and community members and even spent some time sharing West African
music in the studios at KMXT.
Brianna Gibbs recently caught up with Preece, who said Toure returned to Mali safely,
but conditions in his country have not improved.
Update 1 :35 “Yes, as far as my
understanding is, just this… he is kind of the uncle.”)
Preece said Toure has been volunteering
for the last 10 months. She said his wife and child have followed him to the
capitol of Mali,
but his father has decided to stay in Mopti.
Update 2 :42 “His father is 92, his
father is …causes of the war, but he’s not moving.”)
Preece said the news from Mali isn’t
good, and hearing about it is hard after her and Toure’s long awaited reunion
Update 3 :43 “I’m been following it
since the coupe in…displaced by this conflict.”)
Coverage of the rising conflicts in Mali has been
widespread throughout the world. Preece said the United Nations is very aware
of the situation, but so far there has been little involvement.
Update 4 :53 “I understand it’s
very…when, why, how they should intervene.”)
Preece said her friendship with Toure has been
an eye-opening opportunity to view the world through a different set of eyes.
Update 5 :45 “Things that happen
around …has right now to a saner world.”)
Any community members who would like updates on the situation in Mali
and specifically about Toure, his family and various organizations he works
with can contact Heather Preece to be put on a group email list. Preece said
here and there she will also send packages or money wires to Toure that the
community can get involved with. Beyond that she encourages those who are still
in contact with Toure to keep writing him and stay informed on issues beyond
the scope of Kodiak or even the United
UPDATE: There has been movement by French forces since KMXT
last spoke with Preece. The Guardian reports that French troops have begun
military operations including air strikes in Mali under the direction of French
President François Hollande.
Facts remain uncertain, but a handful of media outlets are reporting that
Islamic forces are withdrawing from major towns under their control.