Kenyan students praise China bond

Kenyan native Jamlick Mwangi Kariuki, 26, has always desired to find a means of expressing gratitude for the wonderful chances he has been afforded by his unique relationship with China, which began in 2018. Kariuki, a resident of the western Kenyan town of Webuye, was one of the 100 Kenyans who were funded to study engineering in China for four years in the second batch. Following graduation, they returned to Africa to help with the building and upkeep of the railway system there. The 480-kilometer Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, a centerpiece of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, was the first railway built in Kenya since the country’s independence in 1963. It was built using Chinese technology and to Chinese specifications.

 

Kariuki and his Kenyan colleagues were able to keep the nation’s much older meter-gauge railway lines in good working order, as well as the Mombasa-Nairobi railway, going thanks to the expertise they had acquired in China. Currently, 80 percent or more of railway workers are from the area and work in operations and maintenance. Kariuki made the decision to pursue a master’s degree at Beijing Jiaotong University last year in order to realize his goal of becoming an authority on railroads.

 

Thus, in October of last year, they addressed a letter to Xi expressing their delight at visiting China to gain knowledge about railway management and operations and expressing the hope that they would act as a friendly bridge between the two nations. According to Kariuki, Xi wrote them a “very long and personalized letter” on January 17. Xi made mention to the railway when he expressed his satisfaction with Kenyans’ strong ties to China via “this road to happiness.” According to Kariuki, the purpose of the letter to Xi was to express gratitude rather than to elicit a reaction. “It’s really inspiring that the leader still made time to consider the international student community and care about us,” he stated.

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