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"15 of yours, 15 of mine,
all united for the Azawak"
By Tercelin Kirtley 

June 25, Paris, France

My friends,

If you are willing to concede that our world is changing at an alarming rate, if you are willing to contemplate the possibility that our very own children are at risk of enduring hardships we never fathomed, then you might feel strong compassion for those already in this situation. Then, perhaps, you will encourage and facilitate at least one enterprise in its endeavor to create change and, in essence, save thousands of lives, by striking at the heart of darkness.

There are some brave individuals in this world willing to risk their own lives, endure the worst hardships, to make this world a better place. My sister is one such individual. She has traveled into the heart of darkness, by going personally into one of the poorest parts of the world, the Azawak region of Niger, where she has witnessed men, women, and children struggling daily to survive because they didn't have water. Many individuals she befriended along the way have died.

Can you imagine? I have a hard time personally, and I grew up in Niger, not far from the region at stake. I realize now, years later, that I am guilty of not answering her call. I realize now the importance of any action I undertake to support her cause, which is also why I'm writing this letter, to encourage and expose Amman Imman, an organization she founded to dig deep bore-wells in the Azawak. Each bore-well taps into the sustainable aquifer hundreds of feet below. Each well dramatically alters the lives of thousands of people. And each well costs thousands of dollars to create.

I was recently approached by Unesco to do a film documentary on the renovation of ancient water systems used in northern Iraq to access the aquifers for water. This implicated me personally in the global effort for survival. The water problem is growing, and Amman Imman is a special and most welcomed rescue operation in one of the places most severely hit by the water crisis and the problem of desertification. I'm talking about a place considered by other organizations to be too dangerous or risky to approach, despite the fact that thousands of civilians live there. My sister has put herself at risk to do what others would not. And now she needs help. Amman Imman needs help. The people of the Azawak need our help. We all live different lives.

We all face our own challenges. I have seen my sister's passion about the Azawak. I have feared for her life on more than one occasion. Her project is a noble one, a necessary one, a vital one, and so I ultimately accept to pay the price it costs me to see her horribly sick with amebas when she returns from the region. Because of the reality of things, I am willing to pay the price of worrying for her life when she is abroad. Now she goes there accompanied by her 17 month old son, Fassely, and husband, Dennie Gontero, who has put his artistic career on hold to fight for the cause of Amman Imman along side her. I admire the sacrifice. I admire the courage greatly.

Thanks to their work, I have a better understanding of what is at stake, and I feel, deep down, that as they fight to save lives in the Azawak, they are, in essence, fighting for us.

Let's help them do that.

Today, I realize the importance of helping my sister and the people of the Azawak personally. I don't have much, but I know that contributions of all sizes, big and small, get the children of the Azawak one cup closer to water. I am sending Amman Imman my personal contribution of $15, and I encourage you to do the same by going to this website.

From that sacred place of hope inside a man's heart, I reach out to you and ask that you take interest in the Azawak by visiting the Amman Imman website at http://www.waterishope.org/.

This letter is a personal response to a campaign my sister has started to raise funds for the Azawak. She has told me, virtually in tears, that if every person gave just a little, and spread the word, it would mean a world of difference to thousands of people dying. In order for the campaign to work, Amman Imman needs everyone to participate, so any amount is welcome. Here is a link to the actual campaign.

All the best,

Tercelin


About Tercelin. Tercelin Kirtley is an film, stage and TV actor, writer and producer based in Paris, France. He is also the brother of Ariane Kirtley and spent his early years travelling with his young sister criscrossing the Sahara with his journalist parents. Though Tercelin's life took quite a different course from his sister's, he shares her passion and concern for the nomadic peoples of the Sahara and West Africa.

Email Tercelin: tercelink@gmail.com

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