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Thousands of Chinese workers come and stay in Angola

Reporter: Susan Mwongeli 丨 CCTV.com

05-10-2014 06:06 BJT

Full coverage: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Visits Africa

As ties between China and the continent grow, more and more Chinese citizens are migrating to Africa. In Angola, there are more than 200,000 Chinese workers, the second largest number across continent, after South Africa. Many of these workers seem to be getting along just fine and are actually enjoying their stay, despite the culture and language barriers.

Shen Pibo, has been in Angola for 9 years. He and many of his colleagues came to the country to work in the construction industry. He says things were quite difficult, when he first arrived.

"Roads were in extremely bad conditions with lots of craters. Five hundred kilometres took us 20 hours. However as the economy developed and the environment improved, now we have much better roads. Time taken to go for five hundred kilometres shortened to four or five hours." Shen Pibo said, "In the past five or six people shared one bedroom. Now the company has improved our living conditions by putting only two people in one room. Each room is equipped with air conditioner and mosquito net. We used to catch malaria very easily because of serious mosquito problems. But the situation is different now."

One of his colleagues, Shen Enwen, has been working in Angola for 8 years. Before he came, he could not speak any Portuguese, which meant that interacting with the locals was very difficult . But overtime he has adapted well and he says he is now happy to work in Angola.

"When we first arrived, there was basically no communication between us and the local workers because we could not understand each other at all. Both became very anxious when we realized this problem. As time passed by, we started to learn from each other. Now some local workers understand Chinese . They have also found a way to communicate with us through signs." Shen Pibo said.

Angola has a big number of Chinese medical doctors too. China sent the first medical aid team to Angola in 2009. Each team serves for two years, before returning home. Dr. GUO Ziyi is an acupuncturist and has been in Angola for 5 months.

Here in Angola people suffer from some special problems, like bone spurs in the heels. We usually give one course of treatment when we come across similar cases in China. One course normally consists of seven to ten treatments." Guo Ziyi, Acupuncturist, Chinese Medical Aid Team to Angela, "Unfortunately, these treatments sometimes fail to help the patients. However, they prove to be much more effective when they are applied to patients here in Angola. It happened a few times when the patients recovered after one or two treatments only.

Most of the Chinese workers say they still encounter numerous challenges in the country, especially loneliness and missing their families and relatives in China. But despite this, they still soldier on in the hope that the work being done will help improve the welfare of Angolans.

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