Folks today I am writing about one of my favourite African countries, Mali, in the first of three posts.
Why? Well it's been in the news of late:
From the BBC -
Mali crisis: French-led troops 'enter Timbuktu'
French-led troops in Mali have entered the historic city of Timbuktu encountering little resistance, French and Malian military sources.
But there are reports of thousands of ancient manuscripts being destroyed, with video footage of the library showing charred books and empty boxes.
French President Francois Hollande declared that the joint forces were "winning this battle".
They have been pushing north in their offensive against Islamist rebels.
They seized Gao, north Mali's biggest city, on Saturday.
Islamists seized the north of the country last year, but have been losing ground since French forces launched an operation earlier this month.
Most militants appear to have moved out to desert hideouts, says the BBC's Thomas Fessy in the capital, Bamako.
The advance came as African Union (AU) leaders met for a summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the key issue at which was Mali.