TCHIAKOULLE, Guinea, May 20 – Nestled in the mountains of northern Guinea, accessible only by foot, lies the birthplace of the maid who says Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in a New York hotel.
With no electricity nor phone lines, the village of Tchiakoulle could not be further from the bright lights of Manhattan where one of its daughters has brought one of the world\’s most powerful men to his knees.
In the shadow of steep cliffs in the Fouta Djallon region, home to the Fulani ethnic group, Tchiakoulle boasts seven concrete houses, one built by the alleged victim\’s sister, and a few dozen mud huts alongside a river.
The 32-year-old hotel chambermaid at the Sofitel hotel accusing the former International Monetary Fund chief of sexual assault and attempted rape "was born here, her father was born here," said her half-brother Boubacar, 42, born to the same father.
He was speaking to an AFP journalist who tracked down the woman\’s home village after rigourous cross-checking and verification with his own family in New York and those of the victim.
Boubacar said his half-sister lived in Tchiakoulle until the age of 13 before moving to Labe, the main town in the region, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) away, but returned home to get married at about 17.
The couple had a daughter, but shortly after the marriage, her husband, the son of a rich Fulani marabout, passed away.
It was then that the young women left with her child to the United States, according to her half-brother.
He said her sister Hassanatou, already living in New York, had paid for her journey with the help of her husband, a shopkeeper in the Big Apple. Hassanatou is the owner of one of the village\’s seven concrete houses.
Their mother usually lives in the house, but was seeking medical treatment in Dakar at the time of AFP\’s visit.
The members of the accuser\’s family living in the village describe her as very pretty, but illiterate, having never been to school. She attended a madrassa in the village where she learned to recite verses on the veranda.
Her uncle, Mody, remembers a girl who was "not rebellious", while another relative in Labe describes her as "a serious, kind girl and no one knew any trouble from her."