(Xinhua) -- A magnificent building has emerged at the
Sassandra River of western Cote d’Ivoire in Africa, about 400 km
from its economic capital of Abidjan.
About a week ago, a ceremony was held
here to officially mark the start of electricity generation at
the Soubre hydroelectric power station, a hydropower plant built
by a Chinese company with a capacity of 275 MW.
The power station, the construction of
which began in 2013, was completed eight months in advance,
creating a new “Chinese miracle.”
“This is the fourth year I’ve been
working for the hydropower plant project and I really
appreciate the job opportunity,” said Kouadio Alphonse, a
31-year-old topographer with three children.
“My Chinese fellow workers taught me
pragmatic skills and I learn from them the hardworking
spirit,” he said. “This is an important lesson that benefits
all my life.”
An ancient Chinese saying has it that
water afar quenches no fire and a close neighbor is better than
a distant cousin. Now Alphonse understands that more than ever.
In July last year, Alphonse’ house
caught fire and all his family was trapped in a sea of flames.
“My Chinese colleagues helped me pull them out of the blaze and
put out the fire,” he said.
“The company later put on a
fund-raising event for me,” Alphonse said in tears. “The
selfless assistance helped pull me through and got me to
start a new life.”
Situated 20 km from downtown Soubre
was Kouamekro, a relocation village that accommodates around 500
residents from the reservoir area.
“The local government gave a house and
settlement allowance to us. We moved here at the beginning
of this year,” said villager Martin Kouakou.
“My house has three bedrooms and one
living room. I had never imagined living in such a big and
pretty place,” he said.
Soubre Mayor Traore Lassna said nearly
3,000 people had to be relocated because of building the Soubre
hydroelectric power station and that Kouamekro was one of the
It is a pressing and important task to
help the transmigrants strengthen their own capability to make a
livelihood, in addition to support from the government, said the
“I am planning to buy seeds and farm
machinery with the relocation allowance and start
cultivation,” said Kouakou.
“I want to thank China for its
cooperation with Cote d’Ivoire to build the hydropower plant
for my hometown and make such a beautiful homeland for us,”
Secretary of the technology department
of the project Maryline Kouadio came to Soubre in 2014, right
upon her graduation from Cote d’Ivoire’s Boigny University.
“When I first arrived here I was a bit
frustrated because of the language barrier between the
Chinese workers and me,” she recalled.
But as time elapsed she started to
find his colleagues all being nice and glad to befriend her. “In
2015, they invited me to celebrate together the Chinese New
Year. I had a bit of Chinese dumplings and the taste was
amazing!” said Kouadio.
With the hydroelectric power plant
completed and starting to operate, many Chinese colleagues of
Kouadio’s will be going back to China in just a couple of
“I feel reluctant to part with them,”
she said. “We will run Soubre hydroelectric power station as
its new owner and we will serve the businesses and benefit
the people with the technologies and spirit learned from the
Chinese over the past three years.”