"Habari! Habari! ”

This is the Swahili word for "hello everyone". In March 2013, Xi Jinping came to Tanzania to greet African friends in the local language on his first visit to Africa after assuming the presidency of China. Throughout Tanzania, like a festival, local people dressed in bright national costumes greet distinguished guests, singing and dancing, shouting with Chinese: "Welcome! "Hello, President Xi!"

When President Xi Jinping visited, Wang Chao, an employee of China Civil Engineering Group, who had just arrived in Tanzania for half a year, was excited. He stared at the video of the interview activity on the TV, and did not miss a single shot. Tanzanians' enthusiasm for Chinese friends reminded him of a chance encounter.

Building a railway, an encounter

"You're Chinese, right? Coming to do a project? ”

Years ago, on the streets of Kilosa in Tanzania's Morogoro province, Wang Chao was stopped by a local elder.

"Yes, come and build the railway."

Hearing this, the old man pushing the bicycle stopped and pulled Wang Chao to chat on the side of the road: "I repaired TAZARA with Chinese!" ”

"TAZARA", short for Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority, refers to the Tanzania-Zambia Railway built by China in the 70s of the last century. "Chinese are really coming to help us, unlike Westerners who come to plunder." The old man said.

Wang Chao's China Civil Engineering Group, formerly known as the Foreign Aid Office of the Ministry of Railways, is responsible for organizing and implementing the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Project. In the era when the money was not available, China provided 9 million yuan in interest-free loans, nearly 88 million tons of equipment and materials, and dispatched 100,5 person-times for five years and eight months to help the people of Tanzania and Zambia build the 6,5-kilometer-long Tanzania-Zambia railway.

To this day, the TAZARA railway station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city, still hangs old photos of that year, and every passenger who comes here can see the stop-frame shots of Chinese and African workers working side by side to build the railway.

What is even more impressive is that in order to build this "freedom road", more than 60 Chinese sons and daughters have been buried in a foreign land. In 2013, President Xi Jinping made a special trip to the Chinese Experts Cemetery to pay his respects and write the inscription "The spirit of martyrs will always inspire future generations, and the friendship between China and Tanzania will be passed on from generation to generation". He said that the martyrs "interpreted the great spirit of internationalism with their lives, were heroes who forged monuments to China-Tanzania and China-Africa friendship, and their names, like the Tanzania-Zambia railway, will always be remembered in the hearts of the Chinese people and the people of Tanzania."

In Africa, witness change

In 2012, Wang Chao was sent to Tanzania by the company. The local development is much worse than that in China, and Wang Chao is not familiar with life, Wang Chao thought about leaving: "I just graduated from university, I am young, I am ambitious, and I always want to improve myself on projects with higher technical difficulty and larger scale." ”

But after President Xi Jinping's visit to Tanzania in 2013, Wang Chao decided to stay. During the visit, President Xi Jinping for the first time comprehensively expounded the policy concept of "true and sincere" towards Africa, and China and Tanzania signed 17 friendly cooperation agreements in the fields of trade, investment, infrastructure construction, agriculture, communications, and the development of export processing zones. This brings many opportunities to young people's hearts: the Centra-Gauge Railway, the IT Laboratory Building of the University of Dodoma, the Ubengo Interchange, the Magufuli Bridge...

In the past 10 years, Wang Chao has participated in and witnessed the construction of a number of landmark projects in the two countries, transferred from professional and technical posts to project management posts, and has grown continuously through experience, and has now become the deputy project manager of the fifth tender section of the Tanzania Central Line Standard Railway of China-Turkey East Africa Company. His Central Line Rail Project, which connects Tanzania with neighboring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, is a major access route to the Indian Ocean and an important part of the planning network of the Central Corridor in East Africa. With the opening, the previous 30-day truck journey will be reduced to 30 hours.

Like Wang Chao, Chinese who have been working in Tanzania over the years have seized opportunities and dedicated their youth in Africa, and have also felt the great changes in this ancient land.

Benefit people's livelihood and achieve dreams

In Africa, Chinese not only build roads and bridges, but also bring more tangible benefits to local people.

For example, when there was a shortage of water along the railway project, the Chinese construction team drilled more than 20 wells, not only for their own use, but also set up water intake points for villagers along the line, and the villagers near the project were very moved: "The Chinese enterprise has opened a pipeline so that we can drink clean water anytime, anywhere, and no longer have to collect rainwater." ”

What's more, the construction of the Chuo Line standard gauge railway has provided employment for more than 2,1 local people, helping them earn a total of about $02 million.

Joseph Maximilian, 49, is a veteran employee of the Middle-earth East Africa Company whose father was involved in the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia railway. His son inherited his father's business and worked in the Central Line Marking Five Standard Project. Joseph said: "Thanks to this job, I bought a car early and lived in a big house, hoping that my children can also come to work in Chinese companies." ”

In 2018, as a representative of outstanding employees, Joseph went to China to receive the award and specially experienced a Beijing-Tianjin intercity train: "After the opening of the Central Line standard rail railway in 2027, we will also have such high-speed trains!" ”

Now, many Tanzanians come to China and fall in love with China. Some people bring coffee under Kilimanjaro to Chinese consumers; Some people learn from poverty alleviation experience in Chinese universities and fields; There are also people who settled in China and named their twin sons "buns" and "dumplings" ...

More and more Chinese are going to Tanzania. From farmland water conservancy to transportation facilities, Chinese builders are often seen in various infrastructure projects; In the countryside of Morogoro province, local farmers learned the technique of dense corn planting under the guidance of Chinese experts, and the yield increased several times. The streets of Dar es Salaam are full of Chinese elements, and locals often meet at Chinese restaurants...

Over the past 10 years, from economy and trade to humanities, from government to non-governmental organizations, from bilateral to multilateral, China-Tanzania relations have continued to develop in depth, and the hearts of the two peoples have become closer.

Today, Wang Chao is walking on the road, and from time to time he will be pulled by local friends to chat a little. Some say that their fathers worked in a certain railway section project, which made their family live a better life; Some say that Chinese doctors have cured their families; Some say, "Agricultural experts work with us, eat together, live together"... Such a moment makes Wang Chao feel that the friendship of the African people for the Chinese people comes from the heart, like the bright sunshine of Africa.

"The best youth to stay here, I have long become half Tanzanian," Wang Chao laughed, "local friends get married, I will also follow." ”

Source: People's Daily Overseas Edition


Reporter/Ye Zikang Pu