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Monday, February 8, 2010

Islamic Relief USA team heads off to Mali

On Saturday, February 6, 2010, a group of staff and volunteers departed for Mali. They'll be visiting projects funded by Islamic Relief USA in the South and North, including in the Timbuktu region. The group includes Communications Writer (and Islamic Relief USA blogger) Zeyad Maasarani (left) and Anwar Khan, VP of Fund Development. Zeyad will be posting video and text from Mali regularly. You can follow Anwar Khan's updates via Twitter here.

Zeyad's first posts are below.

Saturday, February 6, 2010
We're getting ready to depart from lax and I don't know what to expect.

I'm ready for "the worst" but that's all relative. For all I know, what I perceive as bad might be paradise for somebody else.

I know I'm going to see some suffering. I can't wait to see how our work has helped people there.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

We just arrived in Bamako international airport. Its really hot and dusty.

Flying over Bamako, I hardly saw any light. Its obvious I'm in a different part of the world. The airport bathroom doesn't even have running water.

I just saw a mosquito. I wonder how the people live with the constant threat of malaria.

But the people don't seem to be fazed. Everyone is smiling and glad to have us here. Judging by dress and demeanor, the people seem poor, but dignified.

I gave chocolate to the airport workers. They thanked me and ate it quietly. This might even be their only meal of the night, judging by how some of them wolfed it down.

But I'm excited to see the people in the daytime. I know the sun will shed light on some major suffering, but I also hope it can show us how great and fulfilling it is to support Islamic Relief's work in Mali.

-Zeyad Maasarani
Communications Writer
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