A narrative of a Tanzanian student in China on his life amid the COVID-19 epidemic


A narrative of a Tanzanian student in China on his life amid the COVID-19 epidemic

OUR MENTORS HAVE BEEN ACTING LIKE PARENTS

In October 2019, I went to China to study for Master’s Degree in Xiangya Nursing School of Central South University under the support of scholarship from the Ministry of Commerce, China. Before the start of the coronavirus epidemic we had a great time in class. But a great enemy of the nation called novel coronavirus pneumonia, or COV-ID-19 emerged.

The start of the epidemic brought us huge disappointment accompanied by a lot of anxieties and fears. We realized that this situation was get-ting serious when we saw news showing that the number of people being affected was increasing every day; the government taking serious measures including building two special hospitals for COV-ID-19 patients, restricting movement of people, especially in Wuhan City and Hubei Province, the epicenter and source region of the epidemic, and suspending public transport in different parts of the country, in order to ensure that the epidemic does not affect larger number of people.

For us, things changed when we were asked to go out with a mask on and only when we had serious needs could we go outside. To be honest, this period has been frustrating and exhausting socially, emotionally and academically which was difficult to cope with.

However, this has also given us an experience on how China is able to deal with these difficult situations. Not every nation could manage to do this. The Chinese Government seems so organized and focused on preventing further spread of the infection inside the country and around the world. This has been one of the biggest reasons that made us believe China will conquer the epidemic, which to some extent has reduced our anxieties.

Furthermore, we have learnt that the Chinese people are very cooperative with the government in containing the epidemic. Most of them follow government’s instructions by staying at home and not visiting relatives and friends during the Spring Festival holiday.

Nevertheless, with all the challenges mentioned above, we are still surviving and we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the Chinese Government and Central South University, especially the School of International Education and School of Nursing.

The University has kept us updated with the new developments about the epidemic and the school curriculum calendar, which gave us more confidence. We have been receiving a lot of reminders about the preventive measures against infection and what we should do to protect ourselves. We shared this information with our families so that they know how to protect themselves too.

The university has been providing three meals a day for us and these meals have been adequate and always on time. It has also been supplying masks for all the international students on campus and checking our body temperatures at least twice a day to ensure early discovery, quarantine and treatment of suspected cases.

Our mentors have been acting like parents making phone calls and sending us messages to check on us, providing reassurance and reminding us to take preventive measures whenever such needs arise. Our personal needs have also been met through our group coordinators who has gone an extra mile in sourcing for our groceries and other necessities upon request during the time we stayed in dormitories.

She and her assistant even created a platform on which international students get to know each other and report on their health status, etc. This may seem little but trust me, it has made us better cope with the epidemic and develop a positive feeling of being valued and loved.

(The author is a postgraduate student at Xiangya Nursing school of Central South University, Changsha, China.)