Making it in Spain

In a piece here Amina Talhimet observes that in order to make it in southern Europe, it is no longer enough for African emigrants to be odd-job men. That’s true to a certain extent, but sometimes the skills that enable the boat people to earn a living here are obtained on the road.

There’s a young lad working round the corner who left his family in Muslim Anglophone West Africa and walked most of the way to Algeria. There he worked for two years in a smithy, saving all the while for the next stage. When he had saved enough, he was bundled into one of two boats by smugglers. His boat made it.

His next stroke of phenomenal good fortune came here, when he was taken off the street and given a home by a family. They had a chat with the neighbours, who employed him as an apprentice in their workshop. He’s now attending school and has just rented his first flat. He blushes when he sees women topless on the beach, but he’s still only 17.

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