Barefoot to Timbuktu is the story of Swiss/American artist Ernst Aebi's three-year stay in Araouane, a remote desert settlement that was on the verge of being swallowed up by sand when Aebi arrived there in 1989. Aebi was traveling through Araouane when he was struck by the plight of the locals. Concerned, Aebi decided to remain in Araouane, and help the locals build a village they could be proud to call their own. Before long, vegetable gardens were sprouting up, a school was opening, and a modest hotel had been erected. A few years later, however, civil war erupted in Mali and Aebi was forced to flee Araouane. Nearly 20 years later, Aebi returns to Araouane to see what's become of the village, and the friends he left behind.
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