Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

It's World Refugee Day today, and the head of the UN's refugee agency, FiIippo Grandi, has released some startling statistics – starting with the fact that there are 65 million refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. That's a record number.

And behind every number, there is a story.

It's a familiar story. A young man leaves his family in search of a golden land, a place where he can earn more money to send back home.

In the past, the story has led to happy endings as well as tragedies. That is also the case in the 21st century. Last week, there were reports of 700 migrants who likely perished in three shipwrecks in the Mediterranean while crossing from Libya to Italy.

Nigerian tomatoes are tasty and juicy. But a large basket of toms is now costing an arm and a leg. From about $10.40 three months ago, that price has rocketed 400 percent to a staggering $40, according to local media.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The latest in African visual arts is now on display in Senegal's capital. Dakar is host to a month-long arts festival that's held every other year. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is taking it all in and has this report.

Bourang Ba was a young farmer in Sitacourou — a sleepy village of scattered thatched roof dwellings where cattle chomp on hay in courtyards. Last year, the father of two set out for Europe, leaving behind his son, daughter and young wife, Nialina. Like his two half-brothers who had already migrated to Spain, he hoped to send money home for the family.

Bourang Ba never made it to Europe. He drowned in the Mediterranean en route.

"He wanted to do his bit and provide for his relatives, so he left without telling me," sobs Wassa Ba, Bourang Ba's father.

One evening in November 2014, Aissatou Sanogo's husband came to tell her some startling news.

"Aissatou," he said, "I'm leaving for Europe" — that very night. He earned a modest salary as a bakery deliveryman in Senegal but had dreams of making far more for his family in a European country.

Tributes continue to flood in for celebrated Malian portrait photographer Malick Sidibe, who died of complications from diabetes in Bamako on April 14, at 80.

Mali's culture minister, N'Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo, says Sidibe was a national treasure and an important part of their cultural heritage, whose loss the entire country is mourning.

"Ca nous fait swinguer" — love that swing, says an aficionado at the Dakar Goree Jazz Festival as the tempo shifts from Senegalese jazz to salsa and blues. Aissatou Niang says she's enchanted and delighted with the performances.

Other festivalgoers concur, smiling. They're attending the second edition of a burgeoning jazzfest in Dakar last month that brought together musicians from Senegal, the U.S. and beyond.

The festival is the brainchild of Amadou Koly Niang, a Senegalese man who fell in love with jazz in his teens.

"We're not afraid of the terrorists," says Salimata Sylla.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages