By David Jackson
Roquetas de Mar saw a Christmas miracle when the El Gordo lottery went to a ticket series sold there. A total of €452 million in prize money went to the lucky ticket holders.
In a town where one in five is unemployed and where almost half the residents are immigrants, this money has changed the lives of many families.
No fewer than 35 African immigrants are celebrating their win. Many of them had reached Spain in pateras (makeshift vessels) looking for work, and often do not have bank accounts or any experience of dealing with such sums.
Local social services have been working with immigrant associations to ensure their money is secure. Mario, one of the winners, said he had not worked for a month and was “living hand to mouth before the win”. The lottery organisers have sent an advisor to help with the opening of bank accounts, and to give impartial financial advice.