Mbaye Babacar Diouf's odyssey in a boat from his native Senegal to Spain has allowed him to fulfill his dream of becoming a nurse. He fled Africa in 2003 when migrant-trafficking mafias seized the opportunity to profit by sending thousands of migrants, many of whom didn't survive, across the ocean to be indentured. Fortunately, in Spain, Diouf met 74-year-ol Juan Gil, whom he now calls "aita" ("father" in Basque). Once his life became more stable, he went to nursing school and now works with Covid patients at Bilbao's 700-bed Basurto University Hospital. It has been stressful and heart wrenching, but he loves his job. He hopes to become a doctor and return to Senegal to continue to work with migrants and youths through the NGO he founded, Sunu Gaal ("Our Fishing Boat" in Senegal's Wolof language), which works to support migrants in Spain and Senegal, where he's trying to build a school. The idea is not to tell them to migrate or to stay put," Babacar told The Associated Press. "The goal is to infuse them with critical thinking to make informed decisions and not fall prey to the mafias," he said.

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