African refugee won €400,000 in Spanish lottery

Dmitry Khlestkin


Eight years ago he arrived in Spain with nothing. But this week, he cried with joy as he understood that all the hardships seem to be left behind.

The Senegalese was one of thousands who bought a ticket with the number 79140 from a lottery shop in the Andalusian seaside town of Roquetas de Mar.

Ngame thanked Spain for saving his life and giving him the chance to win the prize in the country’s lottery.

“Today I thank the Spanish government, the Spaniards too,” Ngame told Onda Cero radio. “They saved us when we were in the middle of the sea.”

His family hasn’t decided yet what to do with the money.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “It is too soon to decide. We have to talk and see.”

Though others give out bigger top prizes, Spain’s El Gordo – The Fat One – is the world’s richest.

Almost everyone takes part, as there are 24 million prizes for Spain that has a population of 47 million. Friends and families unite to buy the €20 tickets.

The lottery has become more important, as the country is torn by economic setbacks and unemployment. For instance, Roquetas de Mar, where the Senegalese won the prize, has 31 percent unemployment —much higher than the already high national rate of 21 percent.

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