September 19, 2018
By Joseph S. Margai in Beijing
In a bid to intensify his unification mission of all Sierra Leoneans living in China, Sierra Leone’s ambassador to China, H.E. Ambassador Ernest Mbaimba Ndomahina Saturday, 15th September 2018, met with some Sierra Leoneans at the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone premises in Beijing.
When addressing Sierra Leoneans who availed themselves for the meeting, Ambassador Ndomahina said President Bio cares for all Sierra Leoneans and wants to see a united Sierra Leone.
“This gathering is a family one. I want to know where our brothers and sisters are living in China. This is a network of all our brothers and sisters because if we are together nothing will divide us. All of you know that unity is strength and it behooves all of us to be united and contribute to our nation’s development,” he admonished the listening Sierra Leoneans.
Ambassador Ndomahina suggested that some Sierra Leoneans might be experiencing tough times somewhere in China without the knowledge of the embassy because the network of brothers and sisters has not been working.
“We should extend love, care and concern to all Sierra Leoneans in China. It is now the responsibility of all of us that are present here today to identify at least two Sierra Leoneans who are living in Beijing. I want to know where they reside and where their relatives are in Sierra Leone. By doing so, we will restore confidence in them and we will also be able to track down those foreigners who are holding our passport, thereby using it to commit crimes in China,” he said.
He said that if all Sierra Leoneans living in Beijing are united, they would know if one of them is travelling anywhere around the country so as to ensure his/her safety, adding that, “I am on kneels begging all of you here to come together as one for benefit of all and sundry.”
“I am more interested in personal touch. One-on-one contact is important in unifying us. It’s like a manhunt for all our brothers and sisters here. I don’t mind to visit your residence and see how you are doing and if eventually anything goes wrong with you, the embassy will know and we will step in immediately to solving it,” he assured.
He instructed the secretary-general of Sierra Leonean Students Union in China to give him the database of all students studying in China, which the latter promised to do.
Deputy Ambassador Saffa Rogers, who was once a student in China, said the “New Direction” administration was serious about the welfare of all Sierra Leoneans.
He told the gathering that the embassy belongs to all Sierra Leoneans, urging them to visit at all times.
“We have some Sierra Leoneans who are not allowed to check-in at some hotels in Guangzhou; previously that was not the case. People used to see us as law-abiding individuals but since some foreigners have started carrying our passport our image have been dented to our host country. In order to tackle this and subsequently create an enabling environment for all of you to thrive peacefully, we need to unify ourselves,” he said.
Deputy Ambassador Rogers said some Sierra Leoneans might be in jail, unbeknown by the embassy officials, adding that, “Let’s be our brothers’ keeper by uniting all of us and try to address our own problems.”
He recalled that while he was secretary-general of the students’ union in China, they used to organise an end-of-year party, noting that some officials from other African embassies in Beijing used to come to the Sierra Leone embassy to celebrate with them.
“That was another way of knowing all Sierra Leoneans living in China. We should know every Sierra Leonean that is coming to stay in China so that we can give them the needed love and care they deserve,” he said.
Ibrahim B. Kai-Samba, a Sierra Leonean resident in China for over 20 years, said the initiative of Ambassador Ndomahina to unite the Sierra Leonean community was a step in the right direction.
“Since I have been here, you are the second ambassador, after Munu Koroma, to bring up this idea of unifying us. We are going to support you and we will make sure you succeed here as an ambassador,” he said.
Brima S. Zoker suggested that another way of unifying Sierra Leoneans in China was to create an official website at the embassy where they should log in for real current information, adding that information about Sierra Leoneans living in China should be uploaded on that website.
Zoker said some Sierra Leoneans living in Hong Kong only have a visa for Hong Kong instead of mainland China, urging that the embassy should reach out to them.
Secretary-General of the Students’ Union in China, Prince T. Mabey, assured Ambassador Ndomahina of providing the names of all students who are studying in China.
He informed the ambassador that plans were underway to pick up new students who are coming to study in China, noting that the latter would be taken to their respective universities in order to make life comfortable for them for the first day of arrival.
“Those that will be going out of Beijing will be escorted to the train stations and we will make sure they board the train to their universities,” he assured the ambassador.
Dr. Esther Gondo, who stays in Nanjing city, told the gathering that some Sierra Leoneans are living in Nanjing, adding that she would inform them about the ambassador’s initiative.
“I will take their names and contacts numbers and submit them to the embassy,” she said.