March 25, 2020

My name is Alusine, a student from the Republic of Sierra Leone, West Africa, and my Chinese name is Lu Ban. While growing up, I have had to witness more terrible things than you can imagine. This has left me in a state of utmost confusion about the world we are living in.

When I was a child, my country went through a brutal Civil War that lasted for eleven years. In the year 2014, my country was hit by another deadly disaster: the outbreak of Ebola. I can still remember that thousands of people, including women and children, died of Ebola, leaving countless Sierra Leoneans homeless and children without parents.

During that time I experienced a lot of things that others outside Sierra Leone cannot imagine. For example, we could not take care of our loved ones when they were sick, let alone give them a good funeral after death; we were not allowed to do so many normal things we had been doing before. At that critical moment China was the first country to lend a helping hand to us. With the help of China and other countries we were victorious in the gigantic fight against the almost impregnable enemy disease Ebola.

Now, I am studying in China, learning about China, getting in touch with Chinese and feeling China. The Chinese people’s strong determination and measures on scientific basis in fighting the novel corona virus have given me a sense of China’s strength. I saw China build two hospitals with more than 2000 beds unbelievably within 10 days.

I have seen thousands of  brave people risking their lives to go to the frontline of the fight against this epidemic with no hesitation. I have seen people from all walks of life in China giving of their best to contribute what they can to fighting this disease. I have seen the Chinese government exercising extremely strong and effective leadership in mobilizing energy and resources from all over China. Wuhan City and Hubei Province have gained great support and immense aid packages from all sectors of the Chinese society and so many people and organizations outside China. The whole country has been organized in an intense but orderly way in this battle. Currently, the epidemic has been put under control, thousands of lives saved, and millions protected.

Though we are foreign in a university in China, we have been treated and protected very well just like Chinese family members, and even privileged. Everyone here has been working vigorously and professionally to keep us updated on the latest developments regarding the epidemic and instructed us on the basics on prevention and control of novel corona virus. Inspired, we have been brave and serious to work together with Chinese people to eliminate this deadly epidemic.

So, I am much honored to have acted as a group head of foreign students on the campus. As might be expected it is not as easy for foreign students to receive updated information on the epidemic as nationals are. This coupled with the pressures of study and learning in a foreign domain can easily lead to frustration and emotional and psychological breakdown.

With this fact in mind I have made efforts through SMS, WeChat, WhatsApp  and other channels, to provide timely information and updates on the progress of the fight against the epidemic and the situation on the ground to apprise foreign students on the current situation in China. My efforts extend to approved  processes in the control of the epidemic. I have also embarked on disseminating vital information regarding knowledge of the prevention and control of the epidemic. Although we are foreigners, we are appreciative of the fact that we have never been regarded as outsiders.

From what I have seen in China in these trying these times, the Chinese government has displayed great responsibility, putting first the lives and safety of its people as well as those of the world; and the Chinese people as a nation have spontaneously shown enormous and profound love and generosity and forgiveness for each other and for other nations when both China and the world are in this same unprecedented disaster. My confusion now seems to be clearing up. Isn’t this the kind of world we are expecting?

Across the mountains and streams and foreign lands, the sun and the moon and the stars are all in the same sky. In this world, we human beings will ultimately triumph over disasters however severe only if we stand together with great love, great determination, and group solidarity. I hope for more mutual help, more inclusiveness, so that the world will become a better place for all.

 (ALUSINE TURAY, A foreign student from Gannan Normal University, South China)