Ngagne and his wife were among 65 migrants who risked their lives to reach Europe. It was all worth it in the end, as the Senegalese man who had travelled with just €5 has won €400,000 ($436,000) in Spain’s Christmas lottery.
Ngagne and his wife were first rescued eight years ago and taken to the resort island of Tenerife; they now live in Roquetas de Mar, in Spain’s south coast. Ngagne had reportedly lost his job as a vegetable picker near the town of Almeria before he was struck with this Christmas miracle.
“I just can’t believe this, I can tell you that on some days we do not have five euros between the two of us,” Ngagne told the local newspaper La Voz de Almeria, AFP reports. He thanked the Spanish government and people for rescuing him, and the other migrants, on the boat.
Spain’s Christmas lottery is aptly known as El Gordo, or “the fat one,” because of the huge amount of money distributed. A total of €2.2 billion euros was handed out this year. It’s the second oldest lottery in the world that has run uninterrupted every year since 1812. The lottery is ranked as the world’s richest; 75% of Spaniards play to win a stake.
Unlike other lotteries in the US and the UK, Spain’s Christmas lottery has no single jackpot. The winnings are instead widely distributed among thousands of different people. Ngagne ticket was one of 1,600 tickets with winning number 79140.
Another migrant—a Moroccan 18-year-old named Imanes Naamane—had also won a share of the lottery. The lottery agency owner told local media that about 35 African migrants have won this year.