“Both Chinese and Ethiopian cultures adore a shared plight. I came to study here because I like Chinese culture. When China suffers from the epidemic, I should help as much as I could instead of running away.” At the beginning of this year, when the situation of containment of COVID-19 was severe, it was a multiple choice question for many international students in China. Dereje Haile Hirgeto, a 28-year-old Ethiopian student majoring in civil engineering at Hohai University, chose to stay and tide over the difficulties together with professors and classmates.
Dereje Haile Hirgeto believed that China is now one of the safest countries in the world, but his reason for staying in China is not just security. More importantly, over the past six months, they have witnessed the spirit and strength of China in fighting the epidemic, and learned the most vivid lesson about China's national conditions.
Dereje Haile Hirgeto once worked in China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, China Communications Construction Company, and some other companies. China built the Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital with 1,000 beds in 10 days and the Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) Hospital with 1,600 beds in 12 days. Do you know how difficult it is?” Dereje Haile Hirgeto marveled at the “Chinese speed” during the epidemic containment.
Building one or two buildings is not that simple. You have to mobilize various materials, mechanical equipment and technical personnel required for the project from different places. All of these elements should work together to organize the site well, which is really amazing, he said.
The unity of the people is the key to China's ability to contain the epidemic in around two months, and many of us overseas students believe this is something the entire world should learn from. Dereje Haile Hirgeto said, It is not a question of whether the medical technology is advanced or not, but whether we can work together as a team.
He also mentioned the school's concern and help for international students like him during the epidemic. As a floor manager of the international student community, he also did what he could for the containment of the epidemic. During the period of epidemic containment, Dereje Haile Hirgeto assisted the dormitory management station to check students' certificates, take their temperature and register their information. He often stood there for hours on end.
In order to let his classmates to focus on scientific research and eliminate their worries, he also took the initiative to act as a material buyer, enthusiastically helping his classmates to purchase the necessities of life. In addition, he showed us the notepad he used to record, which was filled with varieties and quantities of various commodities. For the problems encountered by the students during the online courses, he volunteered as a translator, which made his overseas classmates give him thumbs up and praise him as foreign Lei Feng of Hohai.
Moreover, Dereje Haile Hirgeto participated in organizing overseas students and alumni from thousands of miles away to support China's fight against the epidemic, cheer for China and root for China through heart-warming videos, pictures and words! Among them, some of them put their love and support for China into words, others marveled at China's strength, speed and spirit, believing that the Chinese people will surely win the battle against the epidemic.
Recently, Dereje Haile Hirgeto has been paying attention to the China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 just held. At the summit, president Xi Jinping said that China and Africa have become more united and our friendship and mutual trust have been consolidated in the face of the epidemic. China cherishes the traditional friendship with Africa and will never waver in its determination to pursue greater solidarity and cooperation with Africa no matter how the international landscape may evolve.
Solidarity is right in the name of the summit, and I am pleased to learn that China has announced that it will start construction of the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention in advance before the end of this year. Dereje Haile Hirgeto said, I want to contribute to the construction of public health infrastructure in Africa after I return home from my studies in China.