, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – I have been to China once and when I get to the Safaricom Kasarani Sports Arena on Sunday I feel like I am in the country for the second time.
It is my first time to see such a large group of the Chinese nationals in Kenya in one same place. There is virtually only Chinese being spoken at the venue.
They have assembled at the stadium for a cultural festival aimed at encouraging Chinese nationals living in Kenya to better understand and interact with locals in a mature, respectable, decent and mutual manner to enhance cooperation between the two nations.
I can’t understand a thing from the speeches but seated next to me is a Kenyan and a Chinese couple and they catch my attention.
Lizhi Cong and Ann Wangare have been happily married for the last seven years and living in Kenya.
I don’t want to say nosy but I start a conversation with Wangare who notices how long I have been staring at her two beautiful children. Those close to me know how much I love children.
“After I cleared form four I came to Nairobi to work in a store near Jamia mall. That is where my husband found me. He had come to shop by and after much chatting I think we fell in love at first sight. He works in a phone company and he had come to work in Kenya. We dated for a while and finally got married,” says the charming Wangare.
“Our first born is even seven years old,” the husband contributes.
But how have you managed to cope considering the extreme different cultures? I ask.
“I learn everyday from him and he has also learnt a lot about Kenya, until he decided to marry a Kenyan. We have grown every day,” Wangare says smiling.
She tells me she is now fluent in Chinese and even tries to teach me how to pronounce the husband’s name, who is also fluent in Swahili.
Now, this may be close to what the Chinese Embassy is looking for; that Chinese people living in Kenya can gain even more by interacting and understanding Kenyan cultures, of course not ruling out intermarriages.
“I want to take the opportunity to thank the Chinese Embassy for organizing this event. It only depicts the close relationship between the two countries and the government is looking forward to see this relationship grow even more,” Environment Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli said while opening the event.
He says for the two countries to even succeed in top bilateral agreements especially on investments, implementation will even be better if the citizens in the two countries get more free with each other.
Sunkuli took the opportunity to also urge the Chinese government and her people to continue supporting Kenya in fighting poaching as well as help in environmental conservation.
The event was attended by top diplomats, Chinese expatriates and workers living and working in Kenya.