Mr. Moustapha Dia, a Senegalese, taught at the Diam Ly school where Sr. Victorine Bulangalire works. He was the eldest leader of the Maison du Quartier, and my close collaborator. He left for the Canary Islands, by boat. We have learned that he has died.
According to one of his friends who was travelling with him, Moustapha died on the 3rd day of the trip. The boat lost its way and was adrift for 12 days when it was found and rescued by the Canary Islands Red Cross (Spain) who took care of the survivors. But several migrants had already died from lack of water and food or from the heat. Moustapha’s body, like that of the other castaways, was returned to the sea. It was on 17th September that we received the news of his death. The children of the Maison du Quartier wrote messages and drew pictures in tribute to Moustapha. The album was sent to his mom in Senegal.
I spent time with the family and with Madame Chilo the school principal. Moustapha was like a son to both of us. Sunday Masses were celebrated for Moustapha and the other migrant victims, who died on the way.
I met Mustapha the day before he left. He told me he was going to Senegal for a week to renew his passport. He also shared with me his new project for a gym for children. We are left with a great void and a deep wound. This event opened our eyes to the reality that surrounds us.
Since 1st September 2020, thousands of migrants have left Nouakchott for Spain, because this country is offering tenders for work in the fields. Vegetables and fruits from Spain are cheaper and are exported in large quantities around the world because migrant labour is cheaper. May they rest in peace.
Sr Celina Natanek, MSOLA Community of Nouakchott (Mauritania)