We've lived, as distinct from owned, our house in Culebrón for just a year now. Before that we lived in the seaside town of Santa Pola. One of the chaps we met there was an Armenian called Masis who had paid some smuggler $2,500 to fly him into Paris from where he made his way, illegally to Spain.
Masis had a tough time of it without papers. He could only get badly paid, cash in hand jobs with no type of benefit. He worked each and every day. One week he wasn't paid and when he dared to ask his boss for the money he was thrown from a moving car. He presumed he had been sacked.
At the time of his dismissal he was subletting a flat from a South American who rented the two bedroom flat to four completely unrelated men. When his landlord moved a couple of prostitutes in as well Masis decided it was time to up sticks. Things were not going well. Homeless and jobless he lived by doing any work he could and by selling most of his remaining stuff.
It got worse, and it's a long and complicated story, but Masis eventually found someone who might be willing to employ his son who has particular computer skills. In time the son was brought to Spain on a legitimate contract and Masis suddenly had an income again.
Masis was also able to take advantage of an amnesty by the Spanish Government on illegal immigrants and start the process of applying for proper papers.
We went to see him the other night. His situation is still far from perfect but father and son are doing OK and climbing the slippery slope to a better life. They have a two bedroom flat to themselves with a wonderful view over the Med and both of them seem to be fit and well. They treated us to some Armenian home cooking and a bucketload of vodka.
It looks as though there may yet be a happy ending.