Mali: Where the Twain Meet

At the post office in Timbuctoo, a clerk put aside his French translation of a Soviet novel extolling the Red army, genially affixed a Mali stamp commemorating Telstar onto a postcard. "We get lots of Americans through here," he mused to a visitor from the U.S.

There are many other visitors too. Mali, whose fabled Sahara ghost town of Timbuctoo is the national attraction, has become a magnet for Russians, French, Communist Chinese, East Germans, West Germans, Bulgarians, Hungarians and many other breeds of foreigners. From most of them, Mali accepts assistance.

"One does not tell a man who is drown...

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