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Watoto in Arusha and Their Chinese Elder Brothers
Source:China Railway Construction Engineering Group Date:2019年04月02日


In Africa, constructors from China have built roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, and helped people there to dig wells and find water, thus getting into their local life. In the language of Swahili, “watoto” means “children”. With the construction of a central hospital in Arusha of Tanzania, which is also built by Chinese, the local “watoto” have had many Chinese elder brothers.

Watoto in Arusha and Their Chinese Elder Brothers

The Centre of Excellence for Maternity Care, the hospital which was put into construction in November, 2016, is in a remote and barren village. Those Chinese young men in CRCEG’s project department often commute between the project site and the downtown area to purchase goods and materials. Every time they drive by, children in the village will chase after their battered pickup truck, playing and moving around happily.

Gao Hongchun, a project technician of CRJE (East Africa) Ltd., CRCEG 

Once when I was talking with my colleague in the dormitory after work, there was a knock at the door. My colleague opened the door and there were several children. We thought they might be hungry and gave them some water and bread. Then they all went home happily. From then on, children in the village often come to play with us. We play football together, and we tell them stories. Thus we become great friends, and they call us KAKA (meaning "elder brother" in Swahili) lovingly.

Kivilini, the village where the hospital is located, has particular topographic conditions and it is difficult to dig a well. In this village with cultivated land of nearly 200 mu (1 mu is equal to 0.0667 hectare) and about 300 families, there are only 3 wells, hardly to meet the needs of villagers in drinking, domestic water and irrigation. Those Chinese employees offered to donate money and helped them dig 2 wells.

Kidiwa, a local worker of CRJE (East Africa) Ltd., CRCEG


Friends from the Chinese project have helped us dig wells, and we have never had to worry about drinking water anymore. Besides, several families in our village lived a hard life because of physical disability, and the wives and children had to do some part-time jobs. After knowing that, our Chinese friends have tried to hire those disabled people in the project as long as they are eligible. They have bought insurance for us and helped us out of the difficulties in life. We really appreciate these Chinese friends. 

Those villagers often send fruits and vegetables they grow by themselves to the project department for the Chinese young men to taste.

Local Villagers


Because children in the village have no schools to go, no books to read and no toys to play with, those Chinese young men often come to teach them on weekends if they are free. They tell them Chinese stories, teach them English, and also buy books and footballs for them. And our children want to study and play with them every day. Sometimes they wouldn't go home for a meal, and my son did that.

The hospital will be completed in a month and the constructors of CRCEG will leave. "Watoto" in the village are reluctant to let their Chinese elder brothers go. They put on the new clothes given by these brothers, and make Chinese dumplings with them at the project site. They sing for them a traditional song JUMBO (meaning "hello" in Swahili) full of blessings and gratitude, expressing their welcome to these brothers and their good wishes for the future.

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