• Fighting the epidemic together, we are doing our part.- Stories of International Students Fighting against the Novel Coronavirus
  • At the moment, the pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is still raging in China. International students of the School of International Studies are making a concerted effort to combat the virus and expecting the victory to come.

    Combating the virus through voluntary work: I’ll always be on duty till the end of the epidemic.

    It was on February 12 that Akuetteh Percy David Papa (Chinese name: Ai Pengda), an international student from Ghana, came to the Volunteer Service Team for Epidemic Prevention and Control in Chashan Street. "I saw that Chashan Street was recruiting volunteers, so I applied for it as soon as possible. As a medical student, I always hope to do something for the citizens of Wenzhou." Every single morning, Akuetteh reports for duty punctually at 8 o’clock and is usually occupied with work until 6 p.m. He is responsible for checking the pass and the wearing of masks, measuring people's body temperatures as well as registering the information of those who come in and out of the street.

    Apart from that, Akuetteh also serves as an “interpreter”. A multitude of international students are residing in Chashan Street, who have difficulties applying for a pass due to language barriers. Akuetteh often patiently explains to them about the relevant entry and exit regulations for epidemic prevention and control. “I volunteer to fight against the epidemic and I believe that China is bound to overcome the virus!” Also, Akuetteh has composed a rap song in Chinese, called Ada Combating the Epidemic, to boost morale by singing.

    In order to allay the concerns of those medical staff who are fighting on the front line, eight international students from Nepal, South Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries have constituted an English tutoring team and offered courses for their children. "We provide courses for a group of kids whose parents are medical staff working in The First and The Second Affiliated Hospitals to fight against the outbreak and couldn’t make it home for days. Although we cannot fight alongside them, we will strive to support them in their back,” said Gautam Bishnu (Chinese name: Bi Shinu), a member of the team. For 55 children at different education levels, they have carefully planned several online one-on-one classes including an array of activities like English songs singing, daily English speaking, phonics, English picture books reading and multicultural experiencing. These international students put the volunteer spirit of "love across boundaries” into practice and repay this land that cultivates them.

    Voicing support for the combat against the epidemic: China is coping well and will be fine after all.

    “None of my Wenzhou acquaintances flinch. Each of them just keeps fighting. China is coping well and will be fine after all," said Brett Lyndall Singh (Chinese name: Xin Chengle), a South African student. When he learned about the outbreak of the epidemic, he was working as a clinical intern at the Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University. For more than ten days, he has been holding on to his post and combating the epidemic along with the citizens of Wenzhou.

    During the period of epidemic prevention, he made videos to share epidemic prevention tips, guidelines for regulating mental health, and the experience of fighting the epidemic in China, especially in Wenzhou. Plus, he actively voiced his support for the anti-epidemic efforts through various social and media platforms, which was retweeted and highly praised by Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian.

    Tatenda Ashley (Chinese name: Tian Da) from Zimbabwe, majoring in Pharmacy, was recording a video in English in front of the camera to persuade the international students in Wenzhou out of going outdoors thus helping contain the spread of the coronavirus.

    These days, Tatenda Ashley has insisted on staying at home, and spent several hours each day studying online, communicating with his classmates, and maintaining close contact with school counselors. "Every day I contact with the teacher. And if there is anything I need, the teacher will try to help. As a whole it’s not that tough staying at home," he said. In addition, he was busy serving as a home-staying publicity ambassador, appealing to students in Wenzhou not to go out.

    "Of course, it's hard to just stay indoors every day and cannot go out. But we have to find a way to keep ourselves busy so that every minute can be fulfilled." He summed up his three tips: take more exercise, drink water frequently, and study hard.

    Expressing concerns about the epidemic: Alumni from all over the world help fight the outbreak

    On February 15th, the African Alumni Association of Wenzhou Medical University to all alumni at home and abroad launched a fund-raising campaign in favor of Wenzhou, and a total of 5,000 yuan has been raised. "When I learned that Wenzhou is the most seriously affected area outside of Hubei province, I would like to do something for Wenzhou,” said Charles Dwamena, President of the African Alumni Association.

    Charles was an international student who graduated from Wenzhou Medical University in 2012 and is now the Deputy Ambassador of Ghana to China. "The Ghanaian government has donated medical masks to China immediately at the beginning of the epidemic. As the president of the African Alumni Association of WMU, I hope to donate a batch of medical masks to hospitals in Wenzhou, and we are working on this goal."

    In fact, there are many alumni like ambassador Charles who have helped fight the epidemic.

    “Please have your temperature taken before you pass.” It was at a novel coronavirus prevention-and-control checkpoint of the south expressway exit in Wenzhou that Hosany Sumayyah (Chinese name: Su Ma) stopped the passing drivers and said so with courtesy. Sumayyah went to Wenzhou Medical University for study since 2008 and is now working at Wenzhou Panhealth Medical Center. Living here for so long, she has already regarded Wenzhou as a second hometown. Since February 1, they have been working at the novel coronavirus prevention-and-control checkpoint of the south expressway exit every day to check the temperatures of passing drivers and verify their identities.

    “We felt so sorry when we first heard of the outbreak. As doctors in China, our first reaction was to think about what we can do…” said Sumayyah. Next to her stood her husband, Abdul Zahir Hamad, also in a white protective suit (Chinese name: Hao Mengde). The two are from Mauritius and Pakistan.

    Sumayyah and Hamad expressed their love for Wenzhou and for China. Through this epidemic, they’ve also seen that China is a nation of responsibility. "The government and the people’s response to the outbreak was so quick. " Sumayyah said that she would take full advantage of her medical knowledge to help combat the epidemic.

    Amish Vyas (Chinese name: A-ming), an Indian WMU alumnus, works as a plastic surgeon in Hangzhou after graduation. Since February 6, he has been serving as a volunteer at the gate of ShengShiJiaYuan neighborhood, Jingsheng Community, Wuchang Street, in YuHang District. Wearing a mask and holding a pen and paper, he questioned every resident entering the neighborhood. “I speak English, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi and Arabic. So, if there’s anything hard to understand for our foreign residents, I volunteer to help. And feel free to ask if you have any medical questions.” Amish Vyas repeatedly asked relevant staff to contact him if they need help, and expressed a willingness to be on duty as a volunteer so long as he is available.

    "This is our responsibilities for the society. Now it is my turn. I hope that every one of us can do our best and contribute our own strength. Come on, China!” posted Amish Vyas in his WeChat Moments.

    Despite our differences in genders, complexions and nationalities, we are fighting the epidemic together. STAY STRONG, China!