DAMPHA KUNDA, Gambia — The village was losing its young men. Hundreds had left their thatched-roof huts and tiny squares of farmland for the promise of Europe. About 40 had died on the way.
Susso knew nearly all of them. He had prayed at the funerals after their boats capsized or their smugglers stranded them in the desert, ceremonies with mourners but no bodies. The grim toll complicated his plan, turned it into a secret he hid from almost everyone.