Chinese Learning Lights up One’s Electric Power Dream

[Source]    Xinhua News Agency [Time]    2019-12-23 17:53:31 

“My biggest wish from childhood was to have a house without blackouts. It has always been my dream to be a power engineer.” A teenager from Nigeria, Samuel Millickel, told Xinhua News Agency that after only a year of learning Chinese, he won the African championship in a Chinese language competition held in China, which was a great experience that lit up his “power dream”.

More than one month ago, Samuel Millickel, whose Chinese name is Gu Siyuan, won the African championship in the “Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School” in Zhengzhou, representing the Confucius Institute at Nnamdi Azikewe University. He got the chance to study further in one of Chinese universities with awarded scholarship to realize his “electric power dream”.

Blackouts have become a daily occurrence which troubles the people in Nigeria where the shortages of power is due to the lagging infrastructure development.

The connection between Gu Siyuan and Chinese was facilitated by one of his neighbors in his hometown, Imo State in the southern Nigeria. In the summer of 2018, Gu Siyuan, who graduated from high school with honors, was faced with the question of choosing a university. At that moment, with an “electric power dream”, he wanted to study abroad but had no way out.

After learning his troubles, the neighbor who had studied at the Confucius Institute suggested that he study Chinese and believed that his learning talent might give him a chance to study in China.

According to Li Xuda, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, more than 2,500 students each year studied in those two Confucius Institutes in Nigeria, but the enrollment was far from enough to meet the demand.

He also said, “Children in Nigeria are very enthusiastic about learning Chinese. After two or three years of learning Chinese, they may find a high-paying job in a local Chinese company, and excellent ones also have the opportunity to study abroad, which appeals to young people in Nigeria where the unemployment rate is over 23 percent."

Last October, Gu Siyuan officially became one of the students at the Confucius Institute at Nnamdi Azikewe University and soon showed great talent for learning. This June, after learning Chinese for less than a year, he passed HSK Level 4 with high scores and then Level 5 after finishing a competition in China and returning in November.

Gu Siyuan’s adviser, Zheng Jianle, lavished the praise on him, the best student: smart, diligent, self-disciplined and capable of independent thinking.

Zheng Jianle said, “When he came here over a month ago, he asked me a question: why chicken’s laying eggs is called “xia dan” where “xia” means “laying” and “dan” means “eggs”, while fish’s laying spawn is call “chan luan” where “chan” means “laying” and “luan” means “spawn”? What's the difference between “xia” and “chan”? I was very surprised that the student who had been studying Chinese for just over a month could ask such questions.”

The journey in China not only gave Gu Siyuan the joy of winning the prize but also an unexpected moving.

In one of the competition sections, the host asked the contestants if they had any plans in China other than completion. Some contestants expressed their intentions of tasting all kinds of food, going sightseeing and experiencing folk customs, etc. But when this question turned to Gu Siyuan, he said he wanted to buy a sewing machine for his mother, because she worked for her employer with his machine in hardship and illiberality. After hearing that, the audience immediately burst into applause.

A few days later, as his group was about to leave China, a Chinese lady who had never met him before found their hotel and handed him a red envelope with money in it. She said she could not find a sewing machine after looking for one at several places, so she prepared a red envelope for Gu Siyuan to buy one in Nigeria.

Gu Siyuan could not believe that his little wish would be so concerned by a stranger.

He said, “I will use the money to buy a sewing machine for my mother and send the pictures to that kind lady. It seems that there is nothing I can do for the lady, but I will pass this kind of love to someone in need."

(Story by Guo Jun, Xinhua News Agency, Abuja, December 15)

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