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Cameroonian graduate stayed to help fight virus

By ZHAO XINYING and LIU KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-17 09:36
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Ndjike Paulin (left) receives delivery items for international students at Hubei University of Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province. China Daily

Over the past five months, Ndjike Paulin has been on the front lines of epidemic control and prevention on his campus.

As a counselor for international students, he endured the difficult times together with more than 300 international students at a university in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, the hardest-hit region in China.

Hailing from Cameroon, the 30-year-old African man graduated from the Hubei University of Technology in June last year, after which he accepted his counselor position.

When the outbreak emerged in Wuhan, Ndjike's father in Cameroon was concerned and called from time to time to ask him to return home.

But Ndjike chose to stay. He said he wanted to express gratitude to the university and teachers who had helped him.

"When I was a student at the university, my teachers were always ready to help me when I needed them," he said. "Now the university needs me, and I can't leave it alone and go back home."

He comforted his father, saying he was good and everything would turn out fine.

"I was right. Now the epidemic has been under control in Wuhan," he added.

During the outbreak, Ndjike started his workday at 8 am, disinfecting public areas of international students' apartment buildings. The university provided work suits, masks, protective goggles, boots and rubbing alcohol to ensure his health and safety.

Then from 3 pm to 7 pm, Ndjike would go to the entrance of the university to pick up mail and deliver food for students.

In the evening, he patrolled the dormitories to ensure students' safety. He typically ended his day around 10 pm.

Sometimes, Ndjike would receive dozens of calls from students a day, expressing their anxiety and complaining about the inconvenience brought by the outbreak.

Ndjike would urge them to stay calm and encourage them to keep studying during the epidemic, acting as a companion for them and providing stress relief.

The tight, daily schedule didn't make him feel tired.

"My father has always trained me to be a diligent person," he said.

"I like my busy life during the epidemic, which means that I've lived the days to the fullest and achieved a lot."

Ndjike was not alone. Ten international students helped him purchase and distribute daily essentials for students and take temperatures.

Ndjike said he was proud of two of his students from Bangladesh.

"They didn't leave the university when their country evacuated citizens of Bangladesh from the city. Rather, they stayed to work as volunteers to serve other international students," Ndjike said.

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